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Parents Say Public School Tied Mask On Their Nonverbal Special-Needs Child With Rope


Sofia Steele, a 7-year-old special needs student with Down syndrome who attends Brevard Public Schools (BPS) in Florida, recently came home from school short of breath and with a mask tied to her head and neck with nylon rope. Her mask was saturated with her own saliva.

“There’s a special place in hell for the three members of the Brevard County School Board who did this to Sofia Steele… There will be hell to pay,” Florida state Rep. Randy Fine said Friday.

Sofia’s father, Dr. Jeffrey Steele, said he was unaware she was being forced to wear a mask at school in the first place. Sofia is a non-verbal special needs student. She has an oversized tongue and sensory issues. Her father believed Sofia was exempt from BPS’s mask mandate.

Until the day he found out she wasn’t, when Sofia came home from school choking on her mask. Apparently, that was the first day school officials forgot to take off her mask before sending her home. Furious, Sofia’s father called the school and found out that neither he nor Sofia had a choice on masking.

Reportedly, officials at the school had been bullying Sofia to put on the mask for six weeks, backed by BPS’s illegal mask mandate, which has been pushed by lightning-rod school board member Jennifer Jenkins, a Democrat. School officials resorted to tying the mask to Sofia’s face with rope after she rejected their efforts to affix the mask via the ear loops. Sofia’s family is pursuing legal action.

Board Member Won’t Respond to Parent

Steele said of the danger in which the school placed his daughter, “Medically, she could aspirate. She could asphyxiate, and all sorts of medical things could happen because of her breathing, and her enlarged tongue, it could cause seizures.”

Steele says he also called Jenkins, who failed to return his call. Jenkins claims she never received his message.

This was during the same time Jenkins was busy making the rounds on national media outlets like MSNBC, portraying herself as a victim. She alleged she had been “terrorized” by parents of students in BPS, who disagreed with her over issues such as the mask mandate.

To be sure, there is no place for “terrorizing” or trampling anyone’s rights, including Jenkins’s. Hopefully, the truth will come out regarding her allegations, and justice will prevail.

Sofia’s story came to light last week when Steele stood alongside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Fine, and other Florida officials during a Brevard press conference regarding Sofia and other school-related issues, including how Florida is fighting back against the Biden administration’s targeting of parents with the full force of the federal government as “domestic terrorists.”

Brevard Defies DeSantis Order, Then Backtracks

As a multitude of peer-reviewed scientific studies indicate, masks are ineffective for Covid mitigation, at best. Yet Democrats clearly don’t care about the dangers of masks or what the science says about mask efficacy. As you can see in one of Jenkins’ recent political stunts, in which she burns through some half-dozen masks in 36 seconds, nor do Democrats care about the grave impact of discarded masks on the environment, including the billions of discarded masks poisoning the world’s oceans.

As for the illegality of BPS’s mask mandate, the board, led by Jenkins, voted in August to extend a mask mandate. This defied the DeSantis-endorsed “Parents Bill of Rights,” which protects the rights of parents to choose what’s best for their children, including the choice of whether to mask. Jenkins, along with fellow board members Misty Belford and Cheryl McDougall, voted against mask opt-outs in BPS. Thus, BPS has been sanctioned by the Florida Department of Education.

Yet two days after DeSantis’s press conference, BPS did an abrupt about-face, announcing it would allow mask opt-outs “effective immediately.” BPS cited Brevard’s recent drop in Covid cases. Jenkins immediately claimed “mitigation has paid off,” attributing the drop in cases to the mask mandate, even though the data strongly indicates that masks had no effect on cases in Florida.

As for Sofia, Fine revealed over the weekend that “criminal investigations are ongoing,” and he’s working on legislation to put “the Brevard County school board members who did this to Sofia in prison for a very long time.”