School district offers ‘parental opt-out’ for mask mandate after reports about forced masking of Down Syndrome child
A Florida school district has altered its mask mandate to include a “parental opt-out,” a change it says is due to falling Covid-19 cases. However, it also follows allegations of child abuse.
Brevard County Schools announced this week the mask mandate change was always part of its plan and comes as the county sees a reduction in Covid-19 cases this month.
“This is exactly how the mask mandate was supposed to be used,” the county school board chair, Misty Belford, said in the announcement.Also on rt.com Pros outweigh cons: FDA weighs risks of side effects & hospitalizations of Pfizer jab in 5-11-year-olds
The parental opt-out option has already gone into effect.
The announcement comes on the heels of a controversial story of a seven-year-old girl with Down Syndrome who was allegedly forcibly masked at her school.
2 days ago a Brevard parent spoke at @GovRonDeSantis press conference about the horrific abuse of his Down syndrome daughter by forced-maskersToday Brevard School Board ends their illegal mask mandate Too little too late? pic.twitter.com/ygf6qLSp7e— Christina Pushaw (@ChristinaPushaw) October 22, 2021
State Representative Randy Fine (R-Florida) shared the alleged story from his district earlier in the week while blasting mask mandates being enforced. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has also been opposing them.
According to Fine, the girl, whom he identified by name, had a mask tied around her face by teachers, and her parents were never contacted. She is also non-verbal.
a saliva soaked mask tied with nylon rope around her head.Sophia is non-verbal, has an oversized tongue and has sensory issues that prevent her from being able to wear a mask. The parents instructed the school that she was not to wear a mask due to her special needs after they— M4L Brevard (@M4LBrevard) October 19, 2021
“When her father saw her get off the school bus she was wearing a mask and it was tied around her head with nylon rope. The mask was full of saliva, the girl couldn’t breathe. Father is furious,” Fine said, going on to claim the father spoke to the school only to be told the same thing had been happening for weeks, and this was just the first time they forgot to remove the mask before sending the student home.
There is a special place in hell for the three @BrevardSchools Board Members who did this to seven year-old Sofia Steel. Please take two minutes and watch the comments I shared at the end of my committee meeting this week. pic.twitter.com/njVGWR9vAl— Rep. Randy Fine (@VoteRandyFine) October 22, 2021
“There is a special place in hell” for those who forcibly masked the girl, Fine added.
The father has since set up a crowdfunding campaign and said he intends to sue the school district. Fine spoke to DeSantis about the situation this week. He said the governor had been motivated by Steel’s story to also seek criminal action against “school board members who refuse to follow the law.”
Brevard’s “parental opt-out” also follows school board member Jennifer Jenkins making national headlines earlier this month, when she detailed the alleged death threats she and her family have received over her support of mask mandates in schools.
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