‘Parents matter’: Mother of high school student ‘very upset’ DeSantis told her minor son to take off his mask
Dawn Marshall and son Eric (Screen Grab)

Governor Ron DeSantis came under fire Wednesday after telling the high school students he was using as a backdrop for a press conference to take off their masks – in violation of CDC guidelines – calling them "ridiculous" and mask-wearing "COVID theater." DeSantis has banned mask mandates for schools, claiming parents "absolutely have every right" to choose if their children wear masks.

Now a parent of one of the Middleton High School students he ordered to remove their masks is blasting the Florida Republican governor, saying that she instructed her son, who is a minor, to wear the mask at the event. She says DeSantis put her at risk by telling her son to remove the mask.

"I'm responsible for him. And I told him to wear that mask," the parent told WFLA's Justin Schecker (video below).

"It's shocking that the governor told these kids, 'take off your masks.' He pretty much said, 'take off your masks, it's stupid. And take off your masks, your parents don't matter.'"

"Well, I'm telling you, parents matter. And he's telling my minor child will take off his mask. He's putting us at risk. So Oh, yeah, I was upset, very upset."

Last year DeSantis said, "it is prudent to protect the ability of parents to make decisions regarding the wearing of masks by their children," and parents "absolutely have every right to equip their student with whatever types of masks that they want."

DeSantis has made parental choice and parental rights a large part of his political focus, using it as a sword to support anti-LGBTQ legislation like the "Don't Say Gay" bill, and to battle mask mandates.

DeSantis on-camera Wednesday told the students, “You do not have to wear those masks. I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything and we’ve gotta stop with this COVID theater.” Clearly angry, he added: “So if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.”

The Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent in a statement to WFLA said: "As always, our students should be valued and celebrated. It is a student and parents’ choice to protect their health in a way they feel most appropriate. We are proud of the manner in which our students represented themselves and our school district.”