Fla. Dad Protesting School Masks Allegedly Assaulted Female Student Who Confronted Him

Dan Bauman, 50, has repeatedly accompanied his daughter, a 10th grade student, as she has tried to enter Fort Lauderdale High School without a mask in violation of the district's rules

Dan Bauman
Dan Bauman. Photo: CBS Miami

A Florida dad protesting a school district's mandatory mask policy is accused of assaulting a female student who allegedly grabbed the man's cell phone as he tried to enter the campus with his mask-less daughter.

The man, Dan Bauman, allegedly responded by grabbing and twisting the student's hand, then pushing her up against the entrance gate outside of Fort Lauderdale High School, police said.

A police officer and a school security guard pulled Bauman off the student, and he was arrested on the scene Wednesday morning and charged with child abuse without great bodily harm, according to a Fort Lauderdale police arrest report.

Bauman's attorney, Corey Strolla, said his client "used absolutely no unnecessary physical force to legally obtain his property back in his rightful possession," reports NBC Miami.

The arrest report says Bauman, 50, is "known to cause disruption due to protesting the school board's mask policy."

The Broward County School Board previously voted "to make wearing masks in all District schools and facilities mandatory for students, staff, and visitors," according to the district's website.

For the fifth time after the district resumed in-person classes, Bauman on Wednesday had accompanied his daughter, a 10th grade student, as she tried to enter the school without wearing a mask. She was rebuffed by administrators each time, reports CBS Miami.

"I want to be able to go to school like everyone does but I can't wear a mask, I can't breathe in it and I want to have that choice," said the daughter, according to the outlet.

During the confrontation, four supporters of the daughter stood outside the school with signs objecting to the district's mandate, and were met with chants of "wear a mask, wear a mask" from students gathered on the campus grounds, as Bauman recorded with his phone.

A student watching as Bauman and his daughter argued with a school resource officer responded by saying, "I've had enough for four days," according to the arrest report, and then grabbed at Bauman's phone.

That's when Bauman allegedly grabbed the student. He was taken to the Broward County jail, from which he was released on a $5,000 bond, with additional orders to stay away from the victim and keep off school grounds unless he is permitted, reports NBC Miami.

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"I think it was planned because of the cops," Bauman's daughter vented afterward, according to the outlet. "All the adults were surrounding him, grabbing him as if he was assaulting her."

The school's interim principal, Sean Curran, said the school is simply following district protocol as COVID infections and hospitalizations rise across Florida, although the mandate conflicts with legislation signed in May by Gov. Ron DeSantis that ended all restrictions related to COVID-19, including mask mandates.

On Friday a state judge in Florida ruled the DeSantis administration had overstepped its bounds by earlier restricting school districts from adopting mask mandates, after parents in six counties had sued the state, reports The Washington Post.

"Our kids are incredible," Curran said, reports CBS Miami. "Every single one of them is wearing [a mask] and are supportive of what the measures are to keep everyone safe."

"Our local school district thinks the best way to protect our students is by a mask mandate," said Fort Lauderdale High class president Raymond Adderly, reports the outlet. "Every student here ... is going to support that and has been doing so diligently. One student does not speak for all of us."

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