The Troutman Police Department has opened a criminal investigation into a Moms for Liberty member who read aloud passages describing rape and incest during the public comment period of the Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education meeting.

Police Chief Josh Watson confirmed that I-SS administrators have filed a complaint with the TPD related to Paula Mimnaugh’s actions during Monday night’s school board meeting, which was held at the Career Academy & Technical School in Troutman.

“The next step is that it will be assigned to an investigator. The investigator will then take the findings to the district attorney,” Watson said.

Mimnaugh, a former teacher in Montgomery County, has been a frequent speaker at I-SS meetings over the past two years. She has repeatedly urged the district to remove books from school libraries, including those with LGBTQ characters and sexual content. 

During Monday’s meeting, she indicated she was doing God’s work. “Jesus is my strength and shield,” she said.

Mimnaugh then criticized the district for its partnership with the Iredell County Public Library, which is called StudentAccess.

“It allows every public-school student to use their student ID as a library card. Students have access to both print and digital books, and can use their ID at any library in the county,” she explained.

Mimnaugh accused the school district of signing up kids to have public library cards. According to I-SS officials, a student has to have a parent’s consent to have a library card, and the school system doesn’t take any students to the public library to get a card.

For the remainder of her allotted three minutes, Mimnaugh read from two books, “A Court of Mist and Fury” by Sarah Maas and “Identical” by Ellen Hopkins. The passages described rape and incest, sexual assault, profanity, alcohol references and oral sex.

The books are not available in I-SS school libraries.

But Mimnaugh said that I-SS high school students can access both books via their StudentAccess account.

District officials pushed back and said her information was not correct.

Board Chairman Bill Howell made it clear that there wouldn’t be any repeat performances during the next public comment period.

“State Law 143-318.17 talks about vulgar comments in a public place. These officers can arrest you — if you’re not careful,” Howell warned.

Some members of the community have questioned why the school board continues to allow Mimnaugh to speak at public meetings. Students often attend the meetings with their parents.

“To make it clear and publicly known, I have received staff complaints and public complaints. We have filed a complaint with the police. I am personally upset that this occurred,” I-SS Superintendent Jeff James said.

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