Dave Calus parent attending Webster School Board meeting assaulted and forcibly removed by security guard amid dissent of ongoing mask mandates at schools as debate rages.
Footage shows Dave Calus sitting in a chair as he watches a presentation at the Webster School Board along other parents who were wearing masks as required by state mandate when a security guard approaches him.
The security guard reportedly tells Calus: ‘Sir, you need to put a mask on.’
Calus said he replied with ‘thank you,’ only for the security guard to persist: ‘No, you need to put your mask on right now.’ The father said he thanked the guard again but was met with another demand to put on a mask.
The guard is then seen grabbing the back of Calus’ chair, dragging him backward across the floor and yanking him out of his jacket, forcing him to stand.
School mask mandate remains in force amid caution
Calus turns to face the guard, who is pointing to the door, before sitting back down in his chair.
The guard – seemingly angry – grabs the chair, placing one hand under the seat and the other on the back as he tips the chair over. The guard then pushes the father-of-two out of the room as bystanders yell: ‘What are you doing?! What are you doing?! That’s assault!’
Calus was removed from the meeting and taken to urgent care for evaluation. He said on the Kimberly’s Revolution podcast. The father said he was a ‘little sore’ after the incident but otherwise OK.
The alleged incident during the Webster School Board meeting occurred just one day before NY Governor Kathy Hochul announced she was letting the statewide indoor mask mandate – which was slated to expire Wednesday – lapse. The governor cited New York’s 93 percent drop in COVID-19 cases and declining hospitalization rates as the reasoning behind her decision.
Nevertheless, the mask mandate will remain in effect at state-regulated facilities including schools, health care facilities, adult care facilities and nursing homes, correctional facilities, childcare centers, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters and on public transit.
All other businesses, including shops, movie theaters, gyms/fitness centers and restaurants, are no longer ordered to require masks but can do so if they choose.
The governor said she will review the school order – which has prompted dissent- next month after students return to the classroom following their upcoming midwinter break.
Dad insists he did not provoke confrontation
Dave Calus told the podcast that the incident was unprovoked.
‘I want into the building without a mask on. I signed in and they said “you need to wear a mask,”‘ he recalled. ‘I said “thank you.”‘
‘I signed in, they handed me a mask – I did not put the mask on – and I put it in my pocket.’
Calus claims he proceeded to the board room, where he was met by staff who told him that if he didn’t wear a mask, he would be placed in isolation during the meeting.
‘They were segregating masked and unmasked parents,’ he explained. ‘The unmasked parents were going to have to sit in a classroom with a video monitoring watching and listening to the board meeting.’
He said he was placed in the classroom and decided ‘this isn’t going to work for me.’ Calus walked down to the main board room and was once again instructed to wear a mask.
‘I took a mask from the person who handed it to me, looped it around my ear, walked into the room, and sat down and put the mask in my pocket,’ he recalled.
He said he remained seated for 15 to 20 minutes before being approached by the security guard.
Webster Police Department, issuing a statement on Facebook, said their officers were not involved in the incident but they are conducting an investigation. After the investigation is complete, the department will determine whether ‘charges are appropriate’.
Calus had attended the Webster School Board meeting with plans to speak out about the school mask mandate. He had voiced his concerns before at a board meeting last summer.
‘My concern today, still – as it was last June when I spoke at the board meeting – is the consistent mask mandates in the schools,’ he told the podcast.
‘They are effecting the kids in mental and emotional ways that are … not detectable right now.’
He argued that although there are ‘people who care’ at the school, he doesn’t believe administrators are doing anything to help the kids.
Calus shared his high school-aged son only wears a mask while in school and claims the ‘last two years have taken his voice away from him.’
‘I am absolutely an advocate [for my son],’ Calus shared. ‘The mask mandates are the precursor to allowing the state and the Department of Health to mandate vaccines on kids in the schools.’
Personal freedom vs collective good
‘We need choice. We need a choice to send them to school with a mask and without a mask. We need the freedom to choose whether they get a vaccine or not.’
Tuesday night’s incident comes as other weary parents and students across the US demand to have school mask mandates dropped, as the ongoing pandemic enters the 3rd year.
Officials in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey and Oregon recently announced plans to lift mask mandates for schools and other public places as they seek a return to ‘normalcy.’
Meanwhile, governors in California, Illinois and New York are lifting indoor masking requirements, but extending the requirement for schools according to the dailymail.
NY State Governor Kathy Hochul argued Wednesday that New York was ‘trending in a very, very good direction’ – citing case and hospitalization rates – and is ‘now approaching a new phase in this pandemic.’
‘We are not where we were in early December. New Yorkers did the right thing to get through the winter surge, and we can now lift the statewide mask-or-vaccine requirement for indoor businesses starting tomorrow,’ she said, adding: ‘Counties, cities and businesses can still choose to require masks.’
New York reported just over 7,422 new positive coronavirus cases on Thursday, a nearly 92 percent decline from the 90,000 that tested positive about a month ago.
The U.S. is recording 223,417 infections daily, a 43 percent drop from 394,741 cases per day this time last week. Nevertheless deaths remained buoyant, with 3570 deaths on February 9th, with a 7 day average of 2559 across the US according to the nytimes.
The end of New York’s indoor mask mandates comes as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared it continues to stand by its mask-wearing guidelines for schools, saying COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are still ‘too high’ to consider dropping restrictions despite daily infections having declined by 47 percent over the past seven days.
‘Right now our CDC guidance has not changed. We continue to endorse universal masking in schools,’ CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a radio interview with WYPR on Tuesday. ‘We owe it to our children to make sure that they can safely stay in school. Right now, that includes masking. We’ve seen outbreaks that have occurred in communities where students were not masked in schools and had to close.’
Responding to questions about mask mandates on Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated, ‘People are tired of masks,’ adding, ‘however, there were also a huge chunk of people who still want masks.’