Florida educators forced a young girl with Down syndrome to wear a mask by tying it to her head despite it putting the non-verbal child in possible danger, a furious father claims.
Sofia Steele — a 7-year-old girl from Indian Harbour Beach, Florida — allegedly stepped off the school bus on Oct. 7 with a face mask on. Jeffery Steele, the 7-year-old’s father, thought it was strange since she had never come home from school wearing a mask. Upon further inspection, the father said he found that the face mask was tied around the girl’s head with a blue nylon string and held in place with hair clips. The mask was allegedly soaked with saliva.
“I was so angry so I waited four days from Thursday 7th to Tuesday after Columbus Day because I really need to calm down,” Steel told WOFL-TV. “When this child got off the bus and had the mask it was tied around the back of her head underneath her ponytail and it was quite tight around her face.”
The father believed his daughter was exempt from Ocean Breeze Elementary School’s mask mandate because of her disability. Sofia has an enlarged tongue and breathes through her mouth, which makes wearing a face mask potentially dangerous. The father said that Sofia has an individual education plan at the school that caters to her special needs.
“Medically, she could aspirate. She could asphyxiate all sorts of medical things that could happen and because of her breathing because of her enlarged tongue could cause seizures,” Steele said. (Read more from “Disturbing: School Tied Mask on to Little Girl With Down Syndrome for Weeks” HERE)