Stolen school board signs spell trouble

Yard signs for school board members were arranged to spell a vulgar message on school property.

Yard signs for the three incumbent South Whidbey school board members were stolen this weekend and arranged to spell a vulgar message on school property.

The approximately 50 signs supporting school board members Marnie Jackson, Andrea Downs and Ann Johnson were taken from community members’ yards late on Saturday night, according to Jackson.

The signs were subsequently brought to the school grounds where they were arranged to spell the letters “F U.”

Jackson filed a police report and removed the signs from the school property on Sunday after asking a friend of hers who is a licensed drone photographer to photograph the signs from above for documentation purposes.

“We are shocked and saddened by this petty act of vandalism and disrespect for the democratic process, our community members’ right to self-expression on private property, and our schools and students,” she said of the incident.

This is not the first instance of politically-charged vandalism on school grounds. Earlier this year, the school’s Black Lives Matter banner was stolen twice, and vulgar messages were painted on another banner on the school’s property.

Jackson said she and her fellow incumbent candidates expect their opponents to condemn the theft and vandalism of their campaign signs, which she suspects was perpetrated by the challengers’ supporters. All three challengers, Farrah Manning Davis, Bree Kramer-Nelson and Dawn Tarantino, posted on their election Facebook pages denouncing the act, as did the three incumbents.

“If you are stealing signs for either campaign and thinking you are helping, you are in fact doing the opposite,” Manning Davis, who is running against Jackson for position four on the board, wrote. “You are asking for that negative karma to come back to the candidate you support. Again I say STOP.”

Manning Davis said she has had some of her own campaign signs stolen or knocked down, sometimes within 24 hours of erecting them.

“Stealing anyone’s campaign signs is not okay on any level. Everyone has the right to support whoever they choose without judgment,” Kramer-Nelson wrote on her own Facebook page.

In an email to the South Whidbey Record, Manning Davis added that Jackson “has no proof” that her supporters were involved in the theft and vandalism and asked Jackson to rescind the allegation.