Dan Bauman is a Florida man who is accused of assaulting a student at his daughter’s high school in Fort Lauderdale while protesting the district’s mask mandate. The 50-year-old anti-mask father and his 15-year-old daughter, Isabel, had been protesting at the school for several days after officials refused to allow her to enter without a mask. Other anti-maskers joined Bauman at the school to confront officials over several days.
The anti-masker dad was arrested on Wednesday, August 25, 2021. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department said the incident happened at the front entrance to Fort Lauderdale High School about 7:25 a.m. In a statement obtained by Heavy, police said, “Bauman accompanied his daughter as she attempted to enter the school gate without a mask. Bauman was videotaping other students with his phone and causing a disturbance at the gate.”
“One of the students (victim) did not want to be videotaped. The student attempted to grab Bauman’s phone. He responded by pushing the student backwards into the fence,” police added. Bauman was “immediately taken into custody.” Police initially said he was charged with aggravated child abuse, a first-degree felony, but later revised the charge to abuse of a child without great bodily harm, a third-degree felony. He was booked into the Broward County Jail after his arrest and released on bond a day later. Bauman and his attorney could not be reached for comment by Heavy.
Bauman had been filming himself and his daughter and protesting over four school days. One video of Bauman had previously gone viral and his confrontation sparked the interest of other anti-maskers who joined him at the school to protest and demand that his daughter be allowed into the building.
Here’s what you need to know about Dan Bauman and the Fort Lauderdale High School incident:
1. Bauman ‘Pushed the Child by the Shoulder & Grabbed Her Hand Twisting Her Arm in An Aggressive Manner,’ Police Say, in an Incident Caught on Video
Dan Bauman was arrested by Broward County school resource Officer Paul Johnson. According to a complaint affidavit filed by Johnson obtained by Heavy, the officer said he was working outside the Fort Lauderdale High School entrance when he saw Bauman walking his daughter into school. He said he activated his body-worn camera because Bauman is “known to cause disruption due to protesting the school board’s mask policy.”
Johnson said in the report, “A student (redacted) was seen walking to (Bauman) and stated ‘I’ve had enough for 4 days’ and attempted to grab his cellphone as he was recording. (Bauman) the pushed the child by the shoulder and grabbed her hand and twisting her arm in an aggressive manner which caused me and the security to pull (Bauman) off the child.” Johnson said Bauman was then placed into custody.
Videos recorded by students shared by Miami Against Fascism on Twitter showed Bauman with his phone in the student’s face, recording her, before police say he pushed her. Fort Lauderdale Police said, “At this time, we will not be releasing the BWC footage captured during this incident. This remains an open and active investigation.”
Bauman’s supporters have claimed he was acting in self defense. They have shared another video of the incident involving Bauman and the teen student.
Chris Nelson, one of the leaders of the protest supporting Bauman and his daughter. Nelson, an “activist and DJ,” has held rallies around Florida, including in the Fort Lauderdale area, against mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions. Nelson, who leads the group ReOpen South Florida, has shared right-wing conspiracy theories and anti-vaccine misinformation.
Nelson started a GoFundMe for Bauman and wrote, “While taking his daughter Isabel to school and standing up for her legal right to be unmasked, Dan Bauman was attacked and had his phone ripped out of his hand by a masked girl. He tried to get it back and was arrested and was ridiculously overcharged. Isabel had been illegally denied entry to her school repeatedly because she would not wear a mask. Video shows that Dan was the one who was assaulted and had his phone stolen. Watch here: https://youtu.be/QeA7fOKWp3Y. Dan is a freedom fighter and he is innocent! He will need money for bail and expenses. Help him here!”
2. Dan Bauman Faces Up to 5 Years in Prison
Bauman was initially charged with aggravated child abuse, which is a first-degree felony, but the charge as later changed to abuse of a child without great bodily harm. According to Florida state law, a first-degree felony is punishable by up to 30 years in prison, up to 30 years of probation and a fine of up to $10,000. But a third-degree felony, which Bauman now faces, carries up to 5 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation and a fine up of to $5,000.
Bauman was released on $5,000 bond after making his first appearance in Broward County court on August 26, 2021. Bauman was ordered by a judge to not have contact with the victim and was barred from going to the Fort Lauderdale High School campus unless required to do so by the school as conditions of his release.
Before his arrest, Bauman told CBS Miami, “First of all, it’s illegal for them to mandate it. It’s against the law, it’s against the Parents Bill of Rights. Our belief is it doesn’t stop the spread of the virus. It doesn’t control it, it does more harm than good.” His daughter, Isabel, added, “I want to be able to go to school like everyone does but I can’t wear a mask, I can’t breathe in it and I want to have that choice.”
Fort Lauderdale High School student body president Raymond Adderly told CBS Miami, “Our local school district thinks the best way to protect our students is by a mask mandate. Every student here this morning is going to support that and has been doing so diligently. One student does not speak for all of us.”
According to NBC Miami, school officials said only one other student out of the 260,000 who attend classes in the district has refused to wear a mask. The school district added that students are allowed to opt out if they have a valid medical reason. Bauman told the news station the night before his arrest, “I don’t care, the school board policy is illegal, and she’s not gonna put on a mask, no matter what, it’s not gonna happen.”
Adderly added on Twitter after Bauman’s arrest, “All we are asking for is to be safe in our classrooms. They didn’t understand when our administration asked politely. Now our students will tomorrow morning. We will be protesting those that wish to rebel our school policy and risk the lives of others.”
3. Bauman Recorded Himself Telling Fort Lauderdale High School Officials the Mask Mandate Is Illegal, Comparing Them to Nazis & Saying ‘We’re Going to Come Back Tomorrow & It’s Going to Escalate to Who Knows What’
Bauman has posted multiple videos on YouTube showing him and his daughter confronting Fort Lauderdale High School officials over a period of several days at the start of the August 2021 school year. In one video, Bauman presented the officials with a document from the health department that he said bars the district from forcing his daughter to wear a mask and from sanctioning or harassing her for refusing to do so. He also gave them the “Parental Bill of Rights,” which he said states, “It’s a felony for you to not allow her in. You can read why. To you, to you, you cannot pass it off to the school board. … Yourself could be subjected to this felony, it’s a first-degree misdemeanor,” he said, contradicting himself.
Bauman said in the video he received a phone call saying that if his daughter did not attend school, she would be removed from the school. He said, “She is coming. You are not letting her in.” When the administrator said she needs to be masked, Bauman responded, “She does not. The school board policy is illegal.” He said his daughter doesn’t qualify or need the mask exemption policy, which he said was also illegal.
“Are you going to let her in or are we going to do this every day to show that she’s coming to school and then when you remove her, that’s going to be on you,” Bauman said. “She is coming to school.” Bauman asked what would happen when she came to school the next day, and after being told she wouldn’t be let in, said, “Is the cop going to grab her and bar her way from walking in? Is somebody going to stop her? Is somebody going to put their hands on her?”
The administrator said no one was going to touch her and Bauman said, “So how are you going to stop her from walking in? This is an illegal thing you are doing. … The Nazis also said they were just following orders it didn’t help them much. Let her in. We’re going to come back tomorrow morning, it’s going to escalate to who knows what. You’re going to have to forcibly remove her, that’s going to make the news, I guarantee it.”
In another video posted to YouTube, Bauman can be seen approaching the school, where other protesters had gathered after seeing his previous videos, and they cheer loudly when he and his daughter approach. A school administrator told Bauman, “If she comes in, she will not be allowed to go to class. Because she has to have a mask to go into class. … She needs a mask to go into the building.”
Bauman told the administrator, “She’s not putting on a mask. This is illegal what you are doing.” The video shows his daughter trying to walk into the school as an administrator physically blocks her, without touching her, moving from side to side as Isabel tries to get past him. After his daughter got past that man and security approached Bauman dares them to “put your hands on her.”
In a third video, Bauman can be seen filming other students and is confronted by someone off camera who says, “stop filming the kids, sir.” He replies, “I’m filming my kid.” The video shows the man who told him not to film is school resource officer Paul Johnson, who would eventually arrest him days later.
4. Bauman Has Been Involved in Several Altercations at Local Businesses Over Mask Requirements During the COVID-19 Pandemic & Was Accused of Stalking a Dance Studio Owner in 2018
According to the police report, Bauman lives in Fort Lauderdale and was born in Latvia. Little other information about his background or where he works was available. A LinkedIn profile for Bauman lists him only as “owner,” but does not specify what he is the owner of. On his YouTube channel, Bauman posted a confrontation he had with an employee at a Dick’s Sporting Goods store over its mask policy. The video, from January 2021, can be watched above.
According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Bauman has been involved in numerous disputes over mask polices at stores and city buildings around the region since the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic began. He has received trespass warnings from at least five businesses, police records obtained by the newspaper show.
Bauman went to a Home Depot in Fort Lauderdale wearing pink thong underwear as a mask in August 2020 and became aggressive when security told him that wasn’t adequate, the newspaper reports. He then went to the Fort Lauderdale Police Department two weeks later and was refused entry for not wearing a mask, and again put the pink thong on his face, according to the Sun Sentinel.
During another incident at Publix, he told grocery store workers he had an unspecified medical condition that prevented him from wearing a mask, the newspaper reports. He also was involved in incidents at UPS, a post office and a pharmacy, according to the newspaper. A report obtained by the newspaper says Bauman called a woman who told him to wear a mask at a pharmacy in 2020 a monkey and punched her in the face, leading to the woman throwing a chair at him and hitting him.
Broward County court records show that in 2018 a dance studio owner obtained a protective order against Bauman for stalking. According to the Sun Sentinel, he was accused of threatening the studio owner, his wife and his kids.
5. The Broward County School Board Says the State Has Overreached in Barring Mask Mandates, While Governor Ron DeSantis Said There Would Be ‘Consequences’ for Officials Who Disregard His Order
Students have countered the protesters at the high school during the four days where Bauman and his supporters have gathered at the start of the school day. A video from the day of Bauman’s arrest shows students chanting at the protesters, “wear a mask, wear a mask.”
The Broward County Board of Education put a mask mandate in place despite the Florida governor and school board’s order that parents must be allowed to decide if their children wear a face covering in school. Fort Lauderdale High School Principal Sean Curran told CBS Miami, “Our kids are incredible. Every single one of them is wearing it and are supportive of what the measures are to keep everyone safe.”
Interim Broward County Schools Superintendent Vickie Cartwright told NBC Miami, “What we have stated to them is that we do believe that it is an overreach of their authority, that we are legally compliant and we have respectfully requested that they rescind the order. School board chairman Rosaline Osgood told the news station, “We feel very strongly that we’re using every tool in our tool box to fulfill our constitutional obligation of providing a safe and healthy school environment for our students. We know that wearing a mask could potentially prevent us from dying or being impacted by COVID-19, we also know that there is no data or case where somebody wore a mask and they died from just wearing a mask.”
According to Florida Politics, on the same day as Bauman’s arrest Florida Governor DeSantis told a reporter who asked him if he would rescind his mask mandate ban, “How about keeping the power with the parents? You can’t go above the law and take away people’s rights, and that’s what they’re doing. They’re taking away parents’ rights, and there will be consequences.”