The father of a Florida high school student was arrested Wednesday after allegedly getting physical with a classmate of his daughter’s who confronted him for protesting the district’s mask mandate, the latest report of a violent clash over face coverings in schools.
Dan Bauman, the father of a sophomore at Fort Lauderdale High School who has been repeatedly turned away from school for refusing to wear a face covering, was confronted by another student Wednesday who tried to grab Bauman’s cell phone out of his hand as he took a video, saying she’d “had enough,” according to CBS Miami.
Bauman responded by shoving the student before grabbing her arm and twisting it “in an aggressive manner,” according to a police report, and was immediately arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse, a felony that could land Bauman up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
Shortly before his arrest, Bauman told CBS Miami the mask mandate was illegal, arguing that face masks do “more harm than good,” a theory shunned by the vast majority of experts.
Clashes over masks have also been reported at an elementary school in Austin’s Eanes Independent School District, where parents have yanked a teacher’s mask off and yelled at an educator for opting to stay masked during a conversation, according to Austin NPR affiliate KUT.
A mother from Stillman Valley, a small town in northern Illinois, was arrested and banned from school property after refusing to properly wear a face mask during a junior high school open house earlier this month, according to a local Fox affiliate—the woman said she’s not against masks, but believes it should be personal choice, claiming her arrest was “to prove a point.”
Despite the growing reports of violent incidents over face masks for children, polls indicate masking mandates in schools are supported by most Americans. About six in 10 respondents in an Associated Press/NORC poll released this week said they support mask mandates for students and teachers, though only 52% of parents of school-age children reported being in favor of them. Nine states have barred schools from mandating masks: Tennessee, Florida, Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Arizona and Arkansas, although not all of the states’ orders are in effect. Nearly all of the states have been sued by parents’ groups that are in favor of masks. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control issued guidance recommending that all students and staff wear masks at school.