Student's Parent Arrested for Threatening to 'Burn This School to the F***** Ground' Over Mask Mandates: Cops
Mark Polyakov, 37, was taken into custody and his son was expelled from the Jewish private school over the matter.
A Florida man has been arrested after allegedly threatening to burn down his son’s private Jewish school over mask mandates. Mark Polyakov, 37, was taken into custody from his Sunny Isles Beach home on Monday after writing in a group chat for parents of the school, “I want to burn this school to the f***** ground,” police said.
Polyakov’s son, who remains unidentified, was also expelled from the Schek Hillel Community School over the incident, according to reports.
The incident began when Polyakov allegedly created a group chat titled, “No more masks hillel,” according to WPLG. The group chat involved up to 70 people, WFOR reported.
“You should of told that board member go f*** yourself. We will leave and burn Hillel down to the ground. That’s why their rankings have steadily gone down! What’s his name? This board member,” the message read, according to police.
Another message he allegedly wrote in the group chat read, “I want to burn this school to the f***in ground! This is what they are doing outside, forcing f***in masks (in) 80 degrees. You can’t be nice. Gets you nowhere,” according to the arrest report. The message accompanied a photo of the school’s athletic field, authorities said.
The messages were reported by an anonymous parent to the school’s administration, and he was ordered not to return to the school campus, the police report said.
Polyakov then allegedly returned to the group chat, writing, “I just got kicked out of Hillel. I will burn this school down.”
The Scheck Hillel Community School had implemented indoor and outdoor masking at the beginning of this semester in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID in light of the Omicron variant, WFOR reported.
Masks, however, became optional at Miami-Dade and Broward Public Schools on Feb. 14.
“I think a lot of people are very unhappy about the mask policy,” a parent at the school, who wished to remain anonymous, told WFOR. “Other schools have started to remove the mask policy.”
Another parent, who was involved in the group chat, said she wasn’t worried about his comments. “We know the guy personally. He’s not dangerous. He has a four-year-old kid,” she said, according to WFOR. “He didn’t mean it in a direct way. He would never. Everyone who started the chat loves this school, but is just frustrated our children are suffering with these masks.”
Other parents at the school, however, were concerned. “I think this is very serious. I think Hillel was right to report it to the police and I hope it is taken care of,” said Rachel Slelatt, who’s fifth grader attends the school, according to WFOR. “I am sorry but this is well taken care of. Obviously this is a concern because are kids are there in school and anything can happen but there is good security. I think people are very heated up about masks and COVID and all those issues that are bubbling up and so I am not surprised.”
The school said in a statement, “We take any threat very seriously and follow all guidelines, including reporting any such threats to the police. We reported a parent’s threat of violence against our school and understand that their investigation has led to an arrest.”
Polyakov faces one count of written threats to kill or do bodily harm.
He was released from jail on $7,500 bond, according to court records, with an arraignment hearing scheduled for Mar. 16.
Upon his release, Polyakov allegedly threatened a lawsuit over the matter, WSVN reported.
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