Updated: Mar 9, 2022
Cindy Banyai for Congress calls for legal consequences and an end to the hateful rhetoric after the Lee County School Board meeting about masks for kids devolves into violence and threats.
Fort Myers, FL – On Monday, August 30, the Lee County School Board and Superintendent of Schools implemented a 30-day mask order for students attending classes in the district.
The public meeting was targeted by far-right social media personalities and their followers who showed up to make threats and claim any such protection of kids was "communism." The meeting quickly devolved into violent shoving, punches, and spitting on parents.
Dr. Banyai said about the experience, “It was appalling to see the aggression on display outside the emergency board meeting on masks for the Lee County School District. The more we struggled to be heard over the astroturfed rage of the anti-mask protesters the more confrontational and violent they became.
“Screaming at us about far right conspiracy theories, and unhinged rage at actual parents of kids in Lee County Schools - it was shocking how fast it devolved into violence. Anti-mask protesters charged after us and were so close that they were spitting in our faces. One man even pushed his young son towards me, encouraging his kid to call me ‘stupid.’ It was astonishing and sad for our community.”
The Banyai Campaign thanks school officials and officers from the Lee County Sheriff's department for keeping the situation from worsening.
Cindy goes on, "We have watched this chaos online and in the statements from far-right political leaders, local officials, and Republican elected officials who have stoked this anger and fear not out of genuine concern for the kids, but instead to score cheap political points and fundraising.
As COVID-19 cases in children and teachers continue to climb, we continue to see desperate parents looking for answers. Political extremists making out basic protections to be like some form of communist takeover is both patently ridiculous and a great disservice to our kids.
Parents should not have to risk getting punched in the face when they attend a school board meeting to talk about what is being done to keep their kids safe. They shouldn't have to fear being spit on by protesters that think the vaccine is some kind of conspiracy or "mark of the beast." If we save the life of one kid because we had 30 days of masks, then the effort to enforce a mask mandate is worth it to our community and to those parents.
This has to stop. We commend the school board, superintendent, local officials, and health care providers for putting the kids first.”
Statements from parents at the event:
“It is incredibly distressing to me that this mask mandate has become so highly politicized. I am concerned that this abhorrent behavior is only adding to the stress children are already experiencing due to this pandemic. The bottom line for me is making every effort possible to protect the health of our children.” - Deborah Hopkins, parent of a Lee County Schools student.
Deborah was jeered and threatened by anti-mask protesters at the event. She and Dr. Tash Wallace had to be escorted to their cars by a Sheriff’s deputy after speaking in favor of the mask mandate.
“I am pleased to see our Superintendent rule on the side of science. No matter how many bullies try to silence us, I will always stand up for the safety and well being of our children.” - Crystal Czyscon, parent of a Lee County Schools student.
The violent assault on Crystal by an anti-mask protester was captured on live local news
coverage of the meeting.
Dr. Cindy Banyai is a candidate in Congress in 2022 for the Florida 19th Congressional district, and was the 2020 Democratic Nominee for the same seat.
CD-19 spans coastal Southwest Florida from Cape Coral to Marco Island. She is a teacher and a small business owner. Dr. Banyai has been a decorated professional in the field of community development for almost 20 years, collaborating on issues such as homelessness, workforce, education, and sustainable development. She has also researched and published extensively on good governance around the world. Dr. Banyai is continuing to work for our water, our health, and our jobs. She believes we need to lift the voices of the people to be on the same level as politicians and CEOs and to create a Southwest Florida where the sun shines on everyone.
For more information on Cindy Banyai, press only: