Tempers flared and the teacher’s union president called a parent a “child abuser” after a Broward County, Florida, school board meeting Tuesday.
Parents opposed to an in-school mask mandate refused to wear masks during the meeting, a condition board members imposed on residents.
The Miami Herald reported:
Anti-mask protesters and members of the Broward Teachers Union got into a heated exchange in the hallway outside of Tuesday’s School Board meeting where plans for next month’s reopening were expected to be discussed amid Florida’s rising new COVID-19 cases.
Roughly 20 protesters gathered in the lobby and hallways of the Kathleen C. Wright Building in Fort Lauderdale and refused to wear facial coverings even after they were told to do so by the building’s security detail.
The board canceled the meeting after parents would not abide by its demands.
“Some people were able to enter who were not wearing a mask. They were asked to put on a mask; they were offered a mask or to leave, and they would not,” district spokeswoman Kathy Koch said.
“So we had the decision to make what do we do in that case,” she said, claiming the district could not prove the parents had a medical waiver to be maskless. “So, the safety of the people who are in our building is our main concern and what all of this is about.”
The controversy spilled out into the hallway, where a parent called union president a “child abuser” for demanding children wear masks.
“You’re a child abuser by forcing that kid to say something,” Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union, replied, referring to a child who addressed the board. Unions across the country are demanding schools require students to wear masks during the new school year.
Fusco and other union members were captured on video sparring with parents:
Anti-mask protestors and the Broward Teachers Union clash outside of Tuesday’s school board meeting. pic.twitter.com/M6lmp5VK0A
— David Goodhue (@DavidGoodhue) July 27, 2021
One parent, identified as Chris Nelson by the paper, argued the meeting was canceled so only pro-mask union members could speak.
— Chris Nelson (@ReOpenChris) July 27, 2021
Nelson called the cancellation “one of the most egregious abuses of power I’ve ever seen.”
“They know we all have jobs. We’re the people who are like the business owners,” he said. “We’re the engine of this country. They know it’s going to be very hard for us to come back tomorrow.”
CBS 4 reported Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) opposes forcing children to wear masks in school.
“There’s been talk about potentially people advocating at the federal level, imposing compulsory masks on kids,” DeSantis said. “We’re not doing that in Florida, OK? We need our kids to breathe.”