2 arrested as Brevard school board extends mask mandate

Students will be allowed to remove masks in classroom if social distancing can be maintained

VIERA, Fla. – A man and woman were arrested Tuesday before board members of Brevard County Public Schools discussed the district’s policy on face coverings.

School board members voted to extend the mask mandate for students through Oct. 29.

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Students will be allowed to remove their masks in the classroom if social distancing can be maintained. The social distancing mask exemption will go into effect on Sept. 29. The district said students can opt out of wearing a mask with a documented medical condition.

Deaven Carter, whose child goes to Apollo Elementary School in Titusville, said masks are a good idea.

“If it’s going to keep our kids safe, I don’t see what the big deal is. Just putting the mask on,” Carter said.

Another parent said masks should be required to keep kids safe.

“In my opinion, I think all the kids should wear a mask for the kids’ safety,” Lakisha Griffin said.

Prior to the meeting, however, Nicholas Carrington and Janice Crisp, 46, of Cocoa, were arrested on trespassing charges.

Carrington faces charges of resisting an officer, trespassing or failing to leave upon order and disorderly intoxication. Crisp faces charges of trespassing or refusing to leave and interfering with a school function.

“This is what happens when you believe in your rights,” Carrington said as he was being escorted away by Brevard County deputies.

Carrington and Crisp said they signed up to talk during the public forum section of the meeting.

Crisp said she was not allowed into the meeting because she would not wear a mask.

“I look forward to these deputies being reprimanded by the governor himself,” Crisp said while she was being arrested.

During the meeting, several parents spoke out on both sides of the issue.

“Are you here to tell us how to parent or are you here to educate our children, because you’re not doing either,” a woman said. “Parents are still going to send our kids to school without masks because it’s our right and you three are breaking the law.”

“We did not elect you to make medical decisions for our children. Right now, you are in territory where you don’t belong, and worse, you did it illegally,” another parent said.

“I applaud you for standing your ground and protecting our students and the community,” another woman said. “My children also thank you. They appreciate you very much because they are COVID-free.”

When the school board originally approved the mask mandate, the district reported 500 coronavirus cases. Ahead of Tuesday night’s discussion, the newly reported numbers are low for this school year, with 85 cases.

About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.