This Was Inevitable.

Two people planning to speak against the Brevard Public Schools mask mandate were arrested and removed from the property before a Tuesday School Board meeting.

Janice Crisp, a conservative activist who staged a mask burning protest at the last School Board meeting, and an unidentified man were led away from the district headquarters in Viera in handcuffs before the 5:30 meeting and put in Brevard County Sheriff’s Office vehicles.

Witnesses said the two approached the entrance of the building and expressed a desire to speak at the meeting without wearing masks. It’s not yet clear what charges they might be facing.

As she was led away from the building, Crisp shouted that she only wanted to speak without a mask.

For those who are unaware, Crisp ran for the Palm Bay City Council and did not survive the primary.

Disclosure: We have had discussions with Crisp and her knowledge of the law is non-existent. For example, she claimed that bloggers were not considered the press and that we would have to have press credentials to interview her. More on this later.

To examine this incident, we have to look at several things.

First, is the rule passed by the County Commission mandating masks in all County Buildings – including the Brevard School District buildings allowed by law.

The short answer is yes:

Florida Statute 381.0016

Municipal regulations and ordinances.—Any municipality may enact, in a manner prescribed by law, health regulations and ordinances not inconsistent with state public health laws and rules adopted by the department.
History.—s. 2, ch. 29834, 1955; ss. 19, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 59, ch. 77-147; s. 8, ch. 91-297.
Note.—Former s. 381.101.

Secondly, if you are wondering if this contradicts Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 21-175 concerning masks in schools, it does not.

That order only prevents a local school district from mandating that children must wear masks.

Crisp and the unidentified man are allegedly adults, despite their actions to the contrary.

However, what about the First Amendment? Doesn’t that give the two cover for their actions?

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. (emphasis ours)

Don’t board such as the School Board have to allow Crisp and the man to speak?

We would say “no.”

Crisp and her friend are still allowed to contact representatives on the Board via the phone, via email, and via letters / communications. The government cannot cut off all access in seeking redress, and in this case the government, in the form of the School Board, did not. There are still multiple avenues to contact the Board.

Crisp and the man will try and claim that you cannot be trespassed from public property.

Of course you can. People are trespassed and removed from state colleges and legislative offices all the time, and rightfully so.

If you are going to make a disturbance and break the law, your presence is not needed.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals case of Rowe v. Cocoa opinied:

There is a significant governmental interest in conducting orderly, efficient meetings of public bodies.  Jones, 888 F.2d at 1332.   One recognized way to conduct orderly, efficient meetings under Jones is for public bodies, such as a city council, to confine their meetings to specified subject matter.   Id. at 1333 (holding that the removal of a public speaker by the mayor at a city commission meeting was not a First Amendment violation and thus permissible because “to deny the presiding officer the authority to regulate irrelevant debate and disruptive behavior at a public meeting ․ would cause such meetings to drag on interminably, and deny others the opportunity to voice their opinions”);  see also Kindt v. Santa Monica Rent Control Bd., 67 F.3d 266, 272 (9th Cir.1995) (“Meetings of a public body do not become free-for-alls simply because the body goes beyond what a member of the public believes (even correctly) to be the body’s proper purview.”);  Wright v. Anthony, 733 F.2d 575, 577 (8th Cir.1984) (noting that restriction during public debate “may be said to have served a significant governmental interest in conserving time and in ensuring that others had an opportunity to speak”).

However, generally speaking, people cannot be trespassed from school property if they have legitimate business on that property.

Florida Statutes Title XLVI. Crimes § 810.097. Trespass upon grounds or facilities of a school;  penalties;  arrest

(1) Any person who:

(a) Does not have legitimate business on the campus or any other authorization, license, or invitation to enter or remain upon school property;  or

(b) Is a student currently under suspension or expulsion;
and who enters or remains upon the campus or any other facility owned by any such school commits a trespass upon the grounds of a school facility and is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083 .

One could argue that speaking to the School Board is legitimate business, but that argument runs smack dab into the requirement of wearing a mask in that building.

Without a mask, neither Crisp nor her buddy had any legitimate business in the building and therefore could be trespassed, removed and arrested.

The simple way of proving this is that people cannot speak in front of the School Board without any clothes on. Wearing clothes is a legal requirement.

(EDITOR: Gratuitous insult removed. See here for details.)

Unless you follow other laws, you cannot have “legitimate business” on school property.

Crisp and the man did not want to wear a mask, so they did not have legitimate business on school property.

Crisp is facing two charges:

(click on image for larger view in new tab)

The first of “Interference with School Administrative Functions” should be dismissed as Crisp’s rant was before the meeting began and outside of the building. We suspect that no one other than the police and bystanders outside knew what was going on.

The second charge of “Trespass School Grounds Refuse to Leave,” will stick and survive if challenged. What happens and Crisp’s plea is anyone’s guess.

We do want to take note of two things in the video above:

First, as the man is being directed toward the police car, he says that the police needed a warrant to arrest him.

Florida Statute 901.15(1) reads:

901.15 When arrest by officer without warrant is lawful.—A law enforcement officer may arrest a person without a warrant when:
(1) The person has committed a felony or misdemeanor or violated a municipal or county ordinance in the presence of the officer. An arrest for the commission of a misdemeanor or the violation of a municipal or county ordinance shall be made immediately or in fresh pursuit.

The idea that a warrant is required in all circumstances is often put forth by so called sovereign citizens. The argument fails every time.

Crisp as she is walking to the police car says:

“I look forward to these deputies being reprimanded by the governor.”

Crisp is going to be disappointed.

The Governor of the State of Florida is not going to “reprimand” officers for doing their job in a legal manner.

Frankly, there are people out there in the world that are simply out looking for trouble and looking to make the lives of others miserable.

We applaud a principled stance on an issue as much as the next person and maybe more. That doesn’t give you the right to break the law to make that stance. There will be consequences for your actions.

When it comes to COVID, the problem as we see it is that COVID has become politicized.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Harris said that they would never trust a vaccine that was made while Donald Trump was president. Now they are demanding that all people get vaccinated.

The consequences have gone further in that the people are getting false information. No one trusts anyone and that makes conversations and resolutions difficult if not impossible.

COVID should be a coming together moment for this country.

Instead, people on all sides of the political spectrum are using it as some sort divisive wedge between us.

Bottom line is that Crisp and her friend are wrong – morally and legally.

They will never admit that fact because admitting mistakes is something mature adults do.

Childish individuals throwing temper tantrums do not admit mistakes.

We’ll let you guess which one Crisp and her friend are.

2 Responses to “This Was Inevitable.”

  1. Percy Veer says:

    I think most rational folks would agree with your conclusion that acting like a two year old is not the way to bring about positive change and these two will get what they deserve for their actions.

    The only problem I have is didn’t the school board also break the law by instituting mask requirements for schools in direct violation of the State executive order. How come I didn’t see the entire school board perp walked out to the waiting squad cars for violating the executive order. Seems there are two systems of justice, one for two year olds and one for government officials.

    Or am I missing something?

    • AAfterwit says:

      Percy Veer,

      Thanks for the comment.

      You are not missing anything. There is a dual standard for two year olds and government officials that sit on a dais.

      The only thing that we can think of is that when the school board implemented the mask mandate, a judge had issued an injunction blocking the DeSantis mandate. The judge had yet to sign the order and the School Board was making the mandate in preparation for that signature.

      An Appeals Court Judge later ruled that the first judge’s order was wrong and was therefore overturned, bringing us back to the DeSantis order being in place, and the School Board thumbing their noses up at it. However, there DeSantis order did not call for the arrest of school boards that passed mandates, only that there would be economic repercussions. There doesn’t appear to be any criminal repercussions that would result in a perp walk.

      But the core of your observation is correct: rules and laws are for the little people.

      Behind the scenes, we here at Raised on Hoecakes wrote an email to one of the Board member noting that in passing the mask mandate, costs of that rule were not discussed as required by law. Their response was that there was no additional costs. We then gently reminded them that if an employer mandates attire or safety equipment, they must provide the equipment or reimburse the employee for the equipment. We then noted as the latest studies from the CDC and Waterloo College in Canada both conclude that standard face covering masks are only 10% as effective as the N95 masks, the school district would have to provide N95 masks to all 9000 employees. The Board member said that the School District was making masks available to employees.

      They are not – at least not in the type and quantity required.

      We made a public records request to the School District which shows the district had ordered enough masks to last less than a week and a half. (N95 masks must be replaced every 4 days according to the CDC.)

      The School District also indicated that it had not provided certain information. The Florida Statutes require that the custodian of a public record that state an exemption as to why they did not provide a record must give the statute that justifies the exemption.

      Not surprisingly, the School District failed to do that, thus breaking the law.

      We are not taking a position as to whether masks should be worn in schools. We disagree with the DeSantis mandate as we prefer local control on issues like this as it allows for faster pivoting and response to changing conditions than having to deal with the entire state under one blanket.

      We do think that a case can be made that the Brevard School Board is working on the proposition that they have to do “something,” whether or not that “something” is legal, proper or follows the science and data of the issue itself. That’s dangerous, in our opinion because it signals to students they should not follow any critical analysis, but only their “feelings.”

      Still, the Board’s actions dealing with the rules, laws and Florida Constitution illustrate, in our opinion, that they feel they are above those petty things, and only the peons have to follow them.

      Thanks again for the comment.

      A. Afterwit.

  2. […] we went back and reviewed the footage of the arrest of Janice Crisp and associate prior to a Brevard School Board meeting, we realized that we had missed something. […]