Gov. DeSantis joins Florida second-grader suspended for refusing to wear mask: ‘Totally unacceptable’

Fiona Lashells, a second-grade student in Florida, spoke out against her school’s mask requirement. She has been disciplined by her school 16 times for refusing to wear a mask and was most recently suspended for 36 days

Fiona, joined by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, said on “Fox & Friends” that she doesn’t like wearing a mask.

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“I’m not wearing a mask because you touch it, and you have germs on your hand,” she said. “And then you put it on your face and breathe in all the germs.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law in July that banned schools from requiring students to wear masks. Several counties, including Palm Beach where Fiona attends school, have since defied DeSantis’ mask ban.

FILE PHOTO: People hold placards as members of the Lake County School Board conduct an emergency meeting to discuss mask mandates to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Tavares, Florida, U.S., September 2, 2021.  REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: People hold placards as members of the Lake County School Board conduct an emergency meeting to discuss mask mandates to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Tavares, Florida, U.S., September 2, 2021.  REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo

“We’ve had a lot of litigation since then,” DeSantis said. “Fortunately, we’re winning all these cases.” 

DeSantis maintained that the decision to mask children should be left to parents, not school boards. 

“We’re going to make sure that folks are able to go to school in the best possible way for them and for their learning experience,” he said.

Fiona may have to repeat second grade because of her suspension and the number of days the school has taken off.

“I don’t feel good about that,” she said. “I don’t want to take the grade over again.”

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DeSantis called Fiona’s suspension unacceptable and called out school board members who “cavort around maskless” while requiring students to wear them.

His administration is looking into giving parents the ability to fight for their children’s rights if they’ve been harmed by the mandates. 

The Palm Beach County school district said in a statement the indoor mask requirement was implemented before the school year due to a “rapid rise in cases.” DeSantis pushed back on the explanation. 

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“All 67 counties have had huge declines in COVID cases among school-age kids. Most of them did not have forced masking,” he said.

“So this is not something that’s been proven to be effective. And obviously, as we see with Fiona, it has caused some of our students harm.”

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