Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) was caught on video scolding a group of high school students for wearing face masks as he took to the podium at a press conference Wednesday morning.
DeSantis was at the University of South Florida to announce funding for cybersecurity education.
“You do not have to wear those masks,” Gov. DeSantis yelled out. “I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything and we’ve gotta stop with this COVID theater. So if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.”
Hillsborough School District told 8 On Your Side there were seven children in attendance at the press conference who are all students at Middleton High School in Tampa.
“We are excited our students from Middleton High School were highlighted as part of the statewide focus around cyber security education,” said Hillsborough Schools Superintendent Addison Davis. “Our Cyber Security pathway at MHS has had tremendous success through student’s earning industry certifications, participating in internships and leading the way in computer systems and information technology. As always, our students should be valued and celebrated. It is a student and parents’ choice to protect their health in a way they feel most appropriate. We are proud of the manner in which our students represented themselves and our school district.”
In a statement, the governor’s office stood by his message to the students.
“As the governor said, ‘you can wear them if you want’ but there’s ‘no evidence’ masks make any difference,” said press secretary Christina Pushaw. “That has been clear for a long time, and the data informed our state’s official guidance. Following Florida, the CDC has even stopped recommending mask wearing for most Americans. After two years of mixed messages from health authorities and the media, the governor wants to make sure everyone is aware of the facts and data now, so they can feel free and comfortable without a mask.”
— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) March 2, 2022