Family plans to file civil suit after daughter with Down syndrome had face mask tied to head in school
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A family’s face mask claim is put under the microscope after getting nationwide attention.
They accuse a school in Brevard County of tying a mask to their daughter’s head at Ocean Breeze Elementary School. The girl has Down syndrome.
A lengthy police report detailed exactly what happened leading up to that. It found no crimes were made against Sofia,7.
Indian Harbour Beach police say there is not enough evidence to support a criminal violation against the staff, and no evidence to support that Sofia received a physical or emotional injury.
The family’s attorney said the family learned through the report that teachers were tying a mask to the girl’s face for six weeks before they knew anything about it.
"It seems there was an intentional effort by the school district to conceal the fact that they were masking her for six weeks," Nick Whitney, the family's attorney said.
The family said Sofia was exempt from the policy because she has Down syndrome and teachers were not supposed to mask her without the family’s permission.
According to the police report, teachers said they used a shoelace to tie the mask to Sofia’s face to keep it from falling down, which is the recommendation they found on the Down Syndrome Resource Foundation’s website.
"Perhaps maybe they had the best of intentions. But, it was poorly implemented and caused Sofia grave danger," Whitney said.
The family does not want anyone in jail, but Whitney said they do want the district held accountable, which is why they plan to file a civil suit.
FOX 35 reached out to the district for comment but did not immediately hear back.
Last month, a district spokesperson released a statement that said: "The student was given a mask exemption as soon as the parents made the request to school leadership. The school district is investigating the allegations made by the family. BPS strives to ensure each student has the best educational experience possible and will continue in that effort."