Florida has been in the news a lot over the last couple of weeks…. Usually for all the wrong reasons. Its lawmakers are currently processing the passage of its hateful ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, which bars teachers from discussing LGBTQ issues to primary school kids or any students not deemed old enough to handles such topics of conversation.
Besides this, the state has long been a flag bearer for resisting federal advice on how to best handle the Covid pandemic. It has previously threatened to sue or withhold funding from schools that implement mask mandates.
Leading this charge is its Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis. Yesterday, footage emerged of him scolding a bunch of students for wearing masks. The youngsters were lined up behind him at a press conference at the University of South Florida. On seeing the kids were wearing masks, a testy DeSantis made it clear that they could take them off.
— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) March 2, 2022
“You do not have to wear those masks. I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything and we need to stop with this Covid theater.
“So if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.”
Some of the students then took off their masks, while others kept them on. DeSantis stepped up to the lectern, shaking his head, before starting the press conference.
Last month, DeSantis, who is regarded as a frontrunner in the GOP Presidential race for 2024, backed a proposal to strip $200m in education funding from Democratic counties that defied his executive order last year banning mask mandates in schools.
DeSantis has also suggested he will likely sign the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill if it passes the Senate, where it is due to be debated imminently.
He told reporters in early February it was “entirely inappropriate” for teachers to talk to younger students about gender identity. Desantis continued, “Schools need to be teaching kids to read, to write. They need to teach them science, history. We need more civics and understanding of the U.S. Constitution, what makes our country unique, all those basic things.”
Basic things like not bothering to wear a face mask, it would seem.
Online, many found DeSantis’ behavior reprehensible.
He’s a horrible horrible soulless person and is unfit for office. This was unnecessarily rude and obnoxious.
— Jamie Schler (@lifesafeast) March 2, 2022
a governor openly taking away choice from children…a teacher would be disciplined if this were done
— James Baldwin (the other one) (@TrueWordsRSpoke) March 2, 2022
There really needed to be an adult who confronted him on the spot.If a principal,or similar, could have stepped in and said, “Don’t talk to my students in that manner.These are minors,etc etc. “,it would have been a good thing.Power imbalance going on and kids need protection.
— Amy Duval (@TrekkyAmy) March 2, 2022
DeSantis, you have no idea what’s going on with those people or at their home. Maybe they are at high risk or have someone at home who is. It’s none of your business if someone chooses to wear a mask and it’s certainly not ridiculous.
— Mary Robinette (@mcrnette) March 2, 2022
What about freedom @GovRonDeSantis
Who are you to tell these kids to remove their masks!
— Susan 🇺🇸🙏🇺🇦 (@Susan53795298) March 2, 2022