Florida second-grader crusading against masks is suspended 36 times

New York Daily News | By Theresa Braine | November 3, 2021

A Tampa Bay second-grader has been suspended so many times for refusing to wear a mask that she may not be able to pass her year.

The girl, Fiona Lashells, has steadfastly refused to comply with mask mandates, encouraged not only by her mother but also by Gov. Ron DeSantis. She is “on a mission to take back, not only her rights but every American child’s constitutional rights from the tyrant school board,” her mother, Bailey Lashells, told The Free Press of Tampa Bay.

“Fiona is a strong-minded and fearless young girl who was ready to conquer the world at 7,” she told the newspaper. “Unfortunately, the blows just seem to not stop as she was recently told after completing every assignment her teacher will provide that she is not only failing 2nd grade but that there is no way she could catch up, per her teacher.”

The girl’s first punishment came down on Aug. 31, when she was forced to eat a silent lunch alone in an office hallway, the Free Press said. She has since received 36 suspensions.

The battle is a microcosm of a statewide fight between county school boards trying to guard public health, and a new state law that puts decision-making power over masks into parents’ hands.

On Wednesday, Fiona appeared at a press conference with DeSantis, who has championed measures such as monoclonal antibody treatment as a preventative for “severe illness, hospitalization and death” and has opened treatment sites around the state.

The state has registered 3.65 million cases of COVID, with just under 60,000 deaths. Masks, vaccines and other public health protocols are known to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

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