UPDATE: ““Special Place In Hell.”

Below is the actual police report from the Indian Harbor Police Department concerning their investigation into the incident where parents accused the Brevard School District of “abusing” their 7 year old child who has Down Syndrome.


It is a long read at 35 pages, but if you have an interest in this case for whatever reason, you should read it.

Here are some of the “highlights.”

  • The child was never seen in distress at the school because of the mask. In fact, the child would go up to her teachers and sign using sign language the word “help” when the mask fell off her face.
  • There were never any marks or redness observed by the school personnel or bus drivers on the child which would indicate the mask was tied too tightly.

    The reason the mask was “tied” was a genetic trait of the child’s ears which made keeping the mask on difficult. The school tied lengths of strings (similar to shoe strings) to the loops on the sides of the mask, pass the strings under the child’s ponytail and then tie a large knot / loop on top of the ponytail. In videos, the child is seen removing the mask by untying the loop in order to drink or eat. In short, the child knew how to get out of the mask. It follows that if the child were in distress, she would loosen the mask herself. These facts go against the narrative that the mask was being tied in such a manner that the child could not get out, and also goes against the idea that the school was somehow being “tyrannical” by tying the mask on so tight that it could not be removed.

  • (The report notes that the child generally did not like to get off the bus to go home. We have to wonder if the child was being “abused” as claimed, why would she want to stay with her “abusers” at school and on the bus?)

  • The parents were advised that because of the mask mandate by the School Board, they would have to opt out of the child wearing the mask. The parents (actually “parent” since “Dr. Steel” is not the child’s guardian – only the mother had the authority to opt out) did not until this incident went viral. It is difficult to claim the parents of the child did not know about the mask mandate and their ability to opt out as parents of four other children in the special needs class had opted out.
  • The pictures that people have seen and Steel said were taken on the day of the incident were taken at a later date. In a sworn statement to police and in statements to the media, Steel said the pictures were taken the Friday the child got off the bus. The metadata on the images shows that to be incorrect. In addition, the child is wearing different clothes in the images than the day the alleged incident took place. When you add that to the fact the in the pictures the mask is tied in such a method the school was not using, one has to wonder the accuracy of the Steel account.
  • The video evidence compiled by the police is pretty impressive. The report lists 4+ pages of incidents with the child wearing the mask showing no distress and in some cases, being a typical happy 7 year old.
    There is no video or pictures that show the child in distress or even with any physical signs of distress. In addition, there is no one in the school that ever saw the child in distress or showing any physical marks on her face.
  • Based on the reading of the report, it seems clear that this incident was more politically founded than for actual care and concern for the child’s well being. We say that because while there is no evidence that supports the parents’ contentions, they went ahead and used a seven year old child with Down Syndrome to attack the Brevard School Board.

    While there is plenty with which we disagree with the School Board’s handling of the mask issue, their comment policy, and their handling of meetings in general, and the deliberate muddinging of the real issues, falsely making this child some sort of poster child for “anti-maskers” is, in our opinion, despicable.

    Speaking of despicable, State Representative Randy Fine weighed in on the issue after the IHBPD report came out.

    Point by point:

    1) The mask was not tied with a nylon “rope.” Page 7 of the IHBPD report states Steel showed a picture to the investigator of a “blue in color shoelace type string.” There is a difference between a “color[ed] shoestring” and “nylon rope.” The shoestring was given to the investigator as part of the evidence in the investigation.

    2) The shoestring was used to keep the mask on the child’s face. The school says in the report that they had tried every method they could think f to keep the mask on, but the child’s activities, the genetic shape of her earlobes, and the barrettes she wore to school made it impossible to keep the mask on. They were continually putting the mask back on the child at the child’s request and insistence. They looked for guidelines on securing them and found some in a nationally recognized Down Syndrome Advocacy group.

    3) The parents were aware that if they wanted to opt out of the mask mandate they could. They chose not to.

    4) The science is all over the board on the efficacy of masks in general, much less use with people with Down Syndrome. The initial data is that people with Down Syndrome are ten times more likely to die from COVID than the general population. It is important to note that people with Down Syndrome are highly susceptible to respiratory infections. In addition, individuals with Down Syndrome have compromised immune systems.

    Both Yale Medicine and the National Down Syndrome Society recommend following the CDC guidelines for mask wearing for people with Down Syndrome.

    5) Once again, Fine uses the now discredited “rope” narrative. While it seems true that the parents were not informed that the school was using the recommended method of securing a mask to a child with Down Syndrome, neither were they denied the information. In addition, since the child would be the one who would request the mask be repositioned and secured when it came off, that seems to be indicative of the fact that neither the mask, nor the means of holding it to the child’s face was “abusive.”

    6) We have not seen Jenkins statement. The teachers and the school staff say that the shoestring was removed at the end of the day because the shoestring was school property and it was needed the next day. When the child was riding the bus home, she was (obviously) less active and there was less chance of the mask falling off. Still, the aide on the bus said in a sworn statement that the child’s mask would fall off on the bus and would require to be adjusted.

    6) (sic) Fine mislabels his numbering. For one who (in our opinion) continually breaks the law as Fine does, we find this statement curious to say the least. Apparently it is a case of laws are only for other people. We happen to disagree with the Brevard Public Schools’ decision to require masks, but at the same time, we disagree with Governor DeSantis’ mandate outlawing them. “Home rule” matters to us. Still, mask mandate cases are working their way through the courts. The only way to challenge a law is to break it.

    7) We are not sure what Fine means by “anyone who thinks it was okay to do this….”

    We simply don’t know what he means by “this.”

    If he means “this” is making up a false narrative and lying about teachers and aides who obviously care about this child, we don’t think that is okay. We agree with Fine on that.

    If he means “this” is using a child with Down Syndrome as some sort of poster child because of a political vendetta or hatred of a mandate, we don’t think that is okay either. We agree with Fine.

    If he means “this” is his appearing in front of the media to perpetuate the false narrative that was created, we don’t think that is okay either.

    We agree that there is a special place in hell for those who would abuse or lie about this young child.

    While we hope and pray that all those involved who lied about this will repent and ask people for forgiveness, we don’t see that happening.

    Fine may live in Florida now in preparation for of the hotter climate he is looking at residing in in the future. He can wave to Steel then as well.

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