FACT CHECK: DeSantis did not Bully Kids for Being Maskless

March 3, 2022 Updated 9:41 AM ET

March 3, 2022 Updated 9:38 A.M. ET

TAMPA (FCV) – Left-wing media and figures are falsely claiming that Governor Ron DeSantis (R) ‘bullied’ or ‘forced’ kids to take off their masks at a press conference Wednesday.

DeSantis was announcing millions of dollars in cybersecurity education at the University of South Florida. Behind him were students from Middleton High School in Tampa, part of Hillsborough County Schools.

The students were wearing masks. DeSantis approached the podium and said, “You do not have to wear those masks. I mean, please take them off,” to laughter from the students and the room.

“Honestly, it’s not doing anything, and we gotta stop with this COVID theatre,” to more laughter.

“So, if you want to wear it, fine, but this is, this is ridiculous,” DeSantis said, retaining his position repeatedly espoused throughout the pandemic.

Several of the students then chose to take their masks off.

MeidasTouch, a left-wing social media account, said that DeSantis is “a bully” and “shameful” in that he “yelled at students for wearing masks.” The video goes contrary to these claims.

The Florida Democrats also referred to DeSantis – who asked students to “please” take them off but said they could still wear their masks – as “a bully who thinks he should control everything that happens in Florida schools.”

While the remarks themselves were not remotely hostile, with laughter being heard and the Governor being approached for a group photo – maskless – after the press conference.

According to Merriam-Webster, bully means to be habitually cruel, insulting, or threatening to others who are weaker, smaller, or more vulnerable. DeSantis gave the students a choice as to whether to wear the masks, but voiced his opinion on “COVID theatre.”

The following is an example of bullying:

In an interview, one of the parents was hypocritically seen maskless with her child – one of the students behind DeSantis – who reluctantly said he felt “a little” pressure to take the mask off. The student’s mom said it was “shocking” that DeSantis voiced his opinion on masking.

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Florida’s Voice is a patriotic news network that you can trust to deliver the truth with no hidden agenda. Founder and Editor in Chief Brendon Leslie left his job in mainstream news to practice journalism as it should be, unbiased and unbossed.

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