The Center for Disease Control issued new guidance for schools set to reopen in the fall that includes the recommendation that all students and staff should wear cloth mask coverings. Included in that guidance is the acknowledgment that there may be “unintended consequences” regarding their mandate.
In Florida, at least one unintended consequence of the mask mandate is also that it’s likely to bring lawsuits, as in the case of one group of parents who are raising money to contribute to a suit against two Florida counties, Pinellas and Pasco. Some members of that group also said they’d send their children to school in mesh masks thinking that would make schools send those students home, which would bolster their lawsuit against the school districts, they said.
Due to the privacy settings in a Facebook group called “Parent Advocates for Student Health Freedom,” Heavy is quoting comments by the members of the group to protect their identities.
One member said, “They sell mesh face masks on Etsy in cute colors so that might be the route OR NOT. School can just kick my daughter out so we can make these lawsuits stronger.”
An admin replied, “Same!!! 110% yes. Do it.”
The member answered, “I intend to. I wanted to just do virtual before I saw the posts about making the lawsuits better if we just send them to public school campus and refuse to comply.”
The Parents Hope to Join Forces With State Rep Anthony Sabatini Who Has Already Filed Suits Opposing Mask Mandates in Parts of Florida
The recommended use of face coverings by the CDC and other medical professionals has found no quarter with people who are now referred to as “anti-maskers,” and many of those anti-maskers are parents who say they don’t believe it’s healthy or necessary for their children to wear masks at school all day.
The Parent Advocates for Student Health Freedom group has 914 members. They say they believe masks do more harm than good.
Their fundraiser to help finance a lawsuit against the county school board over the mask mandate to “fight these unconstitutional ordinances that aim to remove our rights, essential liberties and health freedom” has raised $1,580 of a $5,000 goal in 22 days.
According to the fundraiser page, “The proceeds from this campaign will be used to contract Florida State Representative Anthony Sabatini and attorney KrisAnne Hall to file a lawsuit against the Pinellas / Pasco County BOCC and support the lawsuits in every way possible.”
Sabatini has already filed a lawsuit against Hillsborough and Leon Counties over their mandates for all residents to wear masks when in public places where social distancing isn’t feasible.
Heavy reached out to an admin of the Parent Advocates for Student Health Freedom group to find out more about their reasons for not wanting their kids to wear masks and for supporting a lawsuit against the school system. This article will be updated when a reply comes.
One Florida Teacher Is Working to Get Mask Protocol Clarified So That Mesh Masks Won’t Meet the Standard & Teachers Can Just Do Their Jobs & Not Worry About Lawsuits, She Said
One teacher and parent who joined the group not understanding its mission said when she spoke up about her concerns she was verbally attacked on the social media site and kicked out of the group. The Pinellas County teacher does not want to be named for fear of retaliation but said her bigger concern was not the beliefs of parents but rather the effect a lawsuit could have on some students.
She told Heavy, “First of all, we don’t really need one more thing to deal with, you know. These women are looking for trouble. They’re radicals. I’m okay with mom’s having different views but they are extreme.”
The first-grade teacher who taught special needs students for eight years told Heavy, “I think of students that I have that…the type of kids that really need to be exempt, and I feel like the chaos these women are creating — or seeking to create — I should say — more of it’s going to be detrimental to those parents and teachers truly advocating for those kids that really do need to be exempt like with significant speech impairments, sensory or ASC, deaf or hard of hearing, severe asthma, like those type of kids.”
The recommendation from the CDC is for all to wear masks at school, but the CDC concedes there will be “challenges” for some who have breathing issues like asthma, are very young or have “special educational or healthcare needs, including intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, and sensory concerns or tactile sensitivity.”
The Florida teacher has contacted the school board to make them aware of the intentions of the group seeking to sue and asked that the exact protocol for masks, including that they are made of materials that prohibit respiratory droplets from spreading, be put into writing so that teachers can “do their jobs” rather than worry about mask conflicts.
The Florida teacher said, “I just think what they’re doing is very dangerous. The rhetoric is dangerous. I don’t know, it’s just gone too far with the children being part of it. They’re little pawns in this and it’s really sad.”