We have all heard stories of disciplinary actions for mask mandate violations throughout the country on students, and parents.
One Florida 2nd grader has been through the ringer with a total of 36 days of suspensions and multiple in-school disciplinary actions.
Meet 2nd grader Fiona, a student in Palm Beach County, who her mom Bailey Lashells describes as a child who loves the typical things kids her age do: arts and crafts, drawing, making jewelry, painting, and getting to be a fun-loving kid.
“Fiona has changed her priorities a bit and is on a mission to take back, not only her rights but every American child’s constitutional rights from the tyrant school board being operated by a financial expert who has no knowledge of how to safely and effectively run the 10th largest school district in America,” said Lashells.
Starting on August 31, 2021, Fiona served her first punishment of a referral and silent lunch in an office hallway alone.
Lashells says her daughter, “has been steadfast in her unwavering decision to not back down to tyranny and lunacy vowing to do everything she can for every child going thru these lawless mandates.”
“Fiona is a strong-minded and fearless young girl who was ready to conquer the world at 7. Unfortunately, the blows just seem to not stop as she was recently told after completing every assignment her teacher will provide that she is not only failing 2nd grade but that there is no way she could catch up, per her teacher,” said Lashells.
We asked Lashells why Fiona refuses to comply with the mask mandate at her school, and Fiona told us in her own words in the video below.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is waging a battle with various county school boards over a law that empowers parents to decide whether their children should be masked up at school.
Ironically enough one of those boards is in Palm Beach County, one of the most heavily Democratic strongholds in the state. And one of the main cheerleaders for mandatory masking is board member Alexandria Ayala.
Back in September, the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County held its black-tie annual gala at the upscale Breakers resort, and Ayala was among those who attended.
And, lo and behold, images of the hearty masketeer showed up on social media, standing shoulder to shoulder and embracing others without wearing a mask.
That hypocritical moment came less than a month after Ayala was applauding a state court ruling in Tallahassee that knocked down the law banning mask mandates.
“Win for student/teacher safety! This ruling affirms that we have constitutional rights as board members to implement mask policies,” she tweeted.
“@SecCardona [U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona] response to my letter today assures that the [Biden] Admin has our backs. I remain committed to keeping schools safe.”
That tweet appeared a few weeks after Ayala attacked DeSantis for implementing the state law that granted parents, not elected officials, authority over their children’s medical needs.
In an opinion column for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Ayala wrote of the no-mandate policy, “This is dangerous and irresponsible.”
“Decisions made by elected officials outside of our legislative body do not outweigh my responsibility to protect the students and employees of Palm Beach County schools. As a school board, we have a sworn duty to do everything in our power to make schools the safest environment possible,” Ayala added, as she referenced that letter to Cardona in which she encouraged federal officials outside of Florida to overrule DeSantis and make education policy for the state.
“Right now, there are far too many unknown variables in this pandemic for ‘no restrictions’ to be the law of the land,” she wrote.
Apparently, the Breakers resort and the swanky Business Development Board party are immune to those variables.
We reached out to Governor DeSantis’s Office about Fiona’s story and the Governor’s Press Secretary Christina Pushaw said, “The Governor has always been clear, that masks should be a parent’s choice in schools.”
Pushaw added that this type of ‘singling out’ of one student is in direct violation of state law and the Parent’s Bill of Rights.
Pushaw also pointed out that among children, the people at the heart of the war over mask mandates, schools that adopted mandates are not performing better than schools that didn’t.
In the 54 counties that did not enact masking requirements, new COVID cases for children between 5 and 17 are down 79 percent on average, while the positivity rate in those counties has dropped 65 percent between the start of school and Sept. 30.
On the other hand, the 13 counties that enforce mandates in violation of state law report that new infections have declined 77 percent, while their positivity rate has decreased by 67 percent.
“Once again, reality has directly contradicted the dire predictions of lockdown and mandate advocates, who insisted that opening schools without mask mandates would cause an explosion of infections,” Pushaw said.
“The data for this school year to date shows no impact of forced masking in schools,” the comment continued. “This is not surprising, since there were no statistically significant differences in case rates in forced-masking versus mask-optional schools during the 2020-21 school year in Florida.”
Back in July 2021, Governor DeSantis said, “The federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person, they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Many Florida schoolchildren have suffered under forced masking policies, and it is prudent to protect the ability of parents to make decisions regarding the wearing of masks by their children.”
On Tuesday, Rep. Mike Caruso said in a release, “Masks were a reasonable option in early 2020 at the onset of the pandemic. But their effectiveness is still inconclusive according to politically polarized scientists and even Dr. Fauci himself, who has contradicted himself over the past 2 years. What is apparent is that masks were ineffective at preventing the spread of the virus as evidenced by the magnitude of this worldwide epidemic. I no longer support mandated mask use. If someone feels comfortable wearing a mask, they may do so, but the rest of us should not be forced to wear one.”
Caruso continued, “Sadly, today we face a school board in Palm Beach County that defies the Governor’s orders by mandating masking of all children in school. They have decided that they know what’s best for our children instead of leaving that responsibility in the hands of parents. I call on the school board to reverse this decision as it does not account for the negative psychological health effects on our children and the resulting decline of their educational advancement while being masked. We now know what the effect of mask use on children and it’s not good.”
We have reached out to the Palm Beach County School Board for comment on Fiona’s story, and haven’t received a comment at the time of publishing.
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Liam Edgar contributed to this story.