Parents, students hold rally in Miami in support of mask mandates at schools

While a Miami-Dade County School District committee met in downtown Miami Wednesday, a rally was held outside in support of students and staff members wearing face coverings in class.

MIAMI – While a Miami-Dade County School District committee met in downtown Miami Wednesday, a rally was held outside in support of students and staff members wearing face coverings in class.

“Just asking to keep them safe,” said parent Alberto Calvo. “I think it’s common sense.”

Parents and students in favor of a mask mandate staged the peaceful demonstration outside of the school district’s administration building.

“I want them to be protected and myself too,” one young boy said.

Parents explained why they’re advocating for their children’s health.

“His mask is protecting other children and other children’s masks will protect him, and if we’re not all on the same page on this some kids are going to get sick,” Rebecca Covey said.

While the school board is getting ready to decide whether masks will be required in the classroom, some board members are already taking sides.

School board member Luby Navarro tweeted she does not support masking children and stands firm on giving parents a choice.

School board Vice Chair Steve Gallon has a daughter in elementary school, so this is a very personal issue for him.

“At the end of the day, it’s the board’s decision to render what’s in the best interest as a school district as a whole,” Gallon said.

A decision that he said should be based on protecting students and employees, the parent’s right to make a choice and complying with the law.

“If we cannot trust doctors, scientists, medical experts...what is the alternative,” asked Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “Who should we turn to for advice?”

Carvalho also responded to state leaders’ threats to withhold salaries from school leaders who enforce mask mandates.

“At no point shall a threat against my salary factor into the decision that I will make regarding best interest of students,” he said.

Carvalho’s comments come a day after the Broward School Board voted in favor of keeping their mask mandate for at least the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.

In response, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran sent a letter to the interim superintendent and School Board chair, warning that an investigation had been opened into the district for non-compliance, and that the Board of Education may withhold their salaries.

Florida state senator Annette Taddeo, a Democrat, called the governor’s actions abhorrent.

“He is so worried about his political future that he’s not worried about our kids’ lives,” she said. “That is not okay.”

Miami-Dade’s School Board will meet to discuss and vote on the same issue next week.


About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

Saira Anwer joined the Local 10 News team in July 2018. Saira is two-time Emmy-nominated reporter and comes to South Florida from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was working as a reporter and anchor.