8-year-old prevails; School board drops mask mandate

Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, November 12, 2021

Eight-year-old Fiona Lashells has delivered a worthy example of standing up for your convictions against power-mad tyrants.

Fiona Lashells

Soon after the Florida 2nd grader appeared before the Palm Beach County School Board and vowed she would continue to defy the school district’s mask mandate, the district dropped the mandate.

After national media pressure sparked by Fiona’s stand, and pressure from the DeSantis administration, the School District of Palm Beach County released a letter to the public explaining its decision to drop their mandatory mask requirement. The board described the change as a “face covering opt-out” for parents.

Fiona for months refused to wear a mask to school. Her mother created a website listing the litany of suspensions Fiona has been handed, which may result in her having to repeat the 2nd grade.

Fiona told the board members that being suspended was “not going to change” her mind, that she still has “the right not to wear a mask,” and that it is “not fair” that she is “getting punished because … the school board is not following the law.”

The 2nd grader also told the school board that she hoped “they all go to jail” for “doing this” to her.

Related: Suspended 36 days for not wearing mask, Florida 2nd grader tells school board she hopes they ‘go to jail’, November 11, 2021

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order in July that prohibited mask mandates in schools. After facing legal action from proponents of mandated masking, Florida’s ban on school mask mandates was upheld by a federal judge on Sept. 15, with the court standing firm by rejecting an appeal to reconsider on Sept. 30.

On Nov. 5, Division of Administrative Hearings Judge Newman upheld the DeSantis administration’s block on masking children against their parents’ will.

In its letter rescinding the mask mandate, the Palm Beach school district also made it clear that “the COVID-19 vaccine is voluntary, and not required for students or staff.”

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