‘You’re a Communist’: School Board Chairwoman Heckled During Meeting on Protective Masks in Florida

Florida

A Chinese American member of a Florida county school board was called a communist during a heated meeting about face masks last week.

What happened: Santa Rosa County school board chairwoman and former science teacher Wei Ueberschaer was heckled while discussing a proposed mask requirement on May 3, the Washington Post reported.

  • Prior to this meeting, State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees announced on April 29 that lifting the use of face masks when social distancing was not possible.
  • Parents objecting to the mask requirement shouted at officials, calling them names such as “RINOs” (Republicans In Name Only). 
  • “This is Santa Rosa County, not China,” a man from the audience yelled at Ueberschaer, while another parent called her a communist.
  • A resident of the county since 1998, Ueberschaer said she would have responded to the derogatory comments had she heard them over the loud noise. 
  • Some parents posed the same arguments that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and former President Donald Trump made, claiming masks can have negative effects on children.
  • A video clip of the meeting was uploaded on Twitter and has been viewed more than 234,000 times as of this writing.

No longer a protective strategy: During the meeting, Ueberschaer lamented face masks becoming a political issue instead of being seen as a strategy to protect people.

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  • “While my preference would be to finish out the remaining weeks of this school year with a protocol that’s been working in our schools all year, I will continue to rely on our public health officials to recommend (policies with) their expertise in infectious disease control,” she said. 
  • Previously, students did not have to wear masks whenever they were outside or could socially distance themselves.
  • Prior to the meeting, students attending Santa Rosa County schools were required to wear face coverings in most areas, Pensacola News Journal reported.
  • The board members ended up lifting the mask order and replacing it with a recommendation.

On the same day, DeSantis announced that he will sign several executive orders to suspend and eventually invalidate all local COVID-19 emergency orders in Florida.

Featured Image via allinlen

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