Florida's Broward County School Board had planned to discuss mask requirements for the coming school year on Tuesday. But that discussion will have to wait after 20 or so anti-mask protesters showed up at the school board headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, CNN reports. Board member Sarah Leonardi says the meeting was postponed as protesters "weren't wearing masks and refused to follow the rules." Broward County Public Schools rep Kathy Koch says "they were offered a mask or to leave, and they would not," per the Miami Herald. WFOR filmed a male protester pouring lighter fluid on a tray of masks, then setting it on fire outside the building. "It is time to cast off this symbol of tyranny, this symbol of child abuse—we will not stand for it anymore," he shouted, per CNN. Gov. Ron DeSantis has also opposed a student mask mandate, saying "we need our kids to breathe," per WFOR.
The school board's current policy is that masks are optional for students, but officials had planned to discuss the new CDC guidance of "universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status." "Shame on you! This is a sham," protesters shouted after learning the decision would be delayed. Chris Nelson, founder of the anti-mask group Reopen South Florida, called Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco "a child abuser," though she hasn't expressed any opinion on mask mandates, per WFOR and the Herald. Officials said anyone without a mask would be turned away from Wednesday's rescheduled discussion. Florida counted 73,166 new COVID-19 cases last week. That's a 700% increase since mid-June and a 61% increase over the week before, per the Herald. (Read more face masks stories.)