A Palm Beach County school board member who's pushed for making students wear masks in schools — despite Gov. Ron DeSantis allowing parents to opt out of such mandates — is getting blasted as a hypocrite for being seen without a mask at a ritzy weekend event.
What are the details?
School board member Alexandria Ayala was seen without a mask in photographs taken at the county's Business Development Board gala held Saturday at The Breakers — a luxury resort in Palm Beach, WPEC-TV reported.
The photos were posted on the Facebook page of County Commissioner Robert Weinroth. In the below set of photos, Ayala is wearing the blue dress in the bottom left image:
On Tuesday, Ayala did not immediately respond to TheBlaze's request for comment on the issue.
Here she is advocating for masks in schools:
Palm Beach County School Board Member Alexandria Ayala speaks about mask mandate youtu.be
Some parents are not happy
"Children are forced to wear masks to go into public libraries. We are forced to wear them in a government building to attend meetings. And I feel it is hypocritical to mandate mask-wearing at certain times, but not follow their own guidelines," parent Josie Macahovec told WPEC.
Parent Ashley Labbad added to the station that she wants board members "to realize what they are pushing at these school board meetings needs to stop."
Others had the following to say in comments on Weinroth's post:
- "I'm ready to go full blown Karen on her ass! Such hypocrisy!" one commenter wrote. "Meanwhile my kid is sitting in one of these schools wearing an itchy ill fitting mask!"
- "And OUR KIDS ARE FORCED TO WEAR MASKS IN SCHOOL!! NO NO NO! This is a disgrace," another commenter declared. "Hypocritical and an abomination!!!!"
- "No mask for her, but she'll muzzle your kids," another commenter observed.
- "Why doesn't Alexandria Ayala have a mask on if she voted to force kids to wear masks in school?" another commenter wondered. "Wouldn't you want to live by the policies you place on others to show the strength of your conviction?"
WPEC noted that there is no county mask mandate prohibiting going without a mask to an event like Saturday's gala if the venue doesn't require it — but that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says even vaccinated people should wear masks in public settings.
What's the background?
Despite a Florida Department of Education emergency rule stating that schools must allow parents to opt students out of using face masks — which conforms to an executive order issued by DeSantis — the Palm Beach County School Board defied the rulings earlier this summer and instituted a mask mandate anyway, with no ability to opt out.
A legal battle ensued, and last week the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights said it was launching a probe into the requirement in Florida that schools must let parents opt out their children in regard to wearing face masks.
Ayala was one of three school board members from Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties who considered filing a lawsuit to defend their mask mandates, WPLG-TV reported.
"We will not be deterred by the governor's continual threats," Ayala said, according to the station.
However, a group of Palm Beach County parents said they're suing the school district's student over its mask mandate, the Palm Beach Post reported.
'It is a privilege to address your public officials'
Palm Beach County School board meetings have gotten pretty heated over the issue. Here's a clip showing Ayala scolding attendees, telling them that "it is a privilege to address your public officials and to be in this chamber." Board chairman Frank Barbieri Jr., also talked tough: