Florida School Board Ends Mask Mandate After Suspending 8-Year-Old 38 Times

The school board of Palm Beach County, which has suspended a second grader 38 times for not wearing a mask, has finally decided to drop their mask mandate.

Fiona Lashells, who recently turned 8 years old, has spent the last few months repeatedly getting suspended for violating her school district’s mask mandate.

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Fiona’s punishments first started when she was separated at lunch time. Then she was removed from her classroom and eventually given in-school suspension. At the beginning of September, she was given out-of-school suspension.

Her mother, Bailey, explained the suspensions, saying “Every three days I take her back and she gets the next suspension”.

Fiona struggled at home and being cut off from teachers and classmates made things worse. She and her mother decided to start attending school board meetings, where Fiona eventually spoke up about her suspensions.

At one meeting, Fiona read a speech she had prepared. She explained that the punishments will not change her mind and she still has “the right not to wear a mask”. She noted that it’s not fair she is “getting punished because … the school board is not following the law”.

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“I hope you all go to jail for doing this to me,” Fiona added.

In early November, Fiona was joined by Gov. Ron DeSantis on “Fox and Friends”. She explained “I’m not wearing a mask because you touch it, and you have germs on your hand”. “And then you put it on your face and breathe in all the germs”.

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DeSantis had signed an executive order in July that prohibited schools from mandating masks, but districts like Fiona’s defied the order.

The governor called Fiona’s suspensions unacceptable and criticized board members that don’t wear masks while students are forced to.


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