A Sullivan County parent who made headlines when he complained about local elementary school officials passing out flyers about condoms said publicity from this story provoked someone to threaten his family.
The Rev. Rich Penkoski said a Florida man threatened Penkoski and his children. Penkoski said he has since taken out an order of protection against the Florida man.
The Tennessee Star obtained a copy of the order of protection this week.
Penkoski, though, said the Florida man’s threats toward him and his children were “very specific.”
“He said he was going to come up here and go to my kid’s middle school and wait for me and my wife, and we would need the police when he was done with us,” Penkoski said.
“This story (about the flyers) went everywhere, and it had good traction. Because of who we are and what we do we do preach against drag queen story hour. Because of that, everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame. Because of all of the publicity of this, that is why this person made this threat, because of all of the attention we got and he wanted attention.”
Penkoski’s children range in age from 3 to 16, according to the order of protection.
The report goes on to say the Florida man made threats by phone and internet starting on November 1. The Florida man also claims to have lived with Penkoski for two years, and he threatened to release private information about a personal lawsuit of Penkoski’s, as well the settlement amount.
As The Star reported last week, personnel at one elementary school in Sullivan County sent kids home with a flyer that advertised free dental and vision care and, among other things, birth control pills and condoms.
This flyer promoted services at a Remote Area Medical Clinic.
One side of the flyer advertised the dental and vision care.
The other side of the flyer advertised the birth control pills and the other adult products.
Sullivan County Schools Director David Cox told The Tennessee Star last week that this happened because of a mistake.
But Tennessee Pastors Network President Dale Walker, who has complained, says school system officials have yet to apologize to Penkoski, the parent who took offense to the flyer.
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[Editor’s Note: The name of the Florida man was included in earlier versions of this story.]
Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Rich Penkoski” by Warriors for Christ. Background Photo “Mary Hughes School” by Mary Hughes School PTSA.