A father from upstate New York was seen on video being forcibly tossed from a school board meeting this week after he refused to wear a mask.
Dave Calus was unmasked while sitting in a chair watching a presentation at a board of education meeting in Webster on Tuesday night when a security guard approached him and asked him to put on a face covering.
Callus said he told the guard “Thank you,” but refused to cover up. The officer persisted, saying “No, you need to put your mask on right now.”
The security guard then dragged Calus’ chair towards the back of the room. Callus turned around to confront the security guard but is then pushed out of a back door, video posted to the Facebook page ROC for Educational Freedom Public Page shows.
“What are you doing?!” the woman filming the video yells. “What are you doing?! Holy crap. Holy crap.”
“That is assault. That is assault.” the woman says.
“Do you put your hands on our children, too?” another lady asks the guard.
The incident occurred one day before New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced an end to indoor mask mandate for businesses, citing a 93 percent drop in COVID-19 cases following the nationwide surge from the Omicron variant. However, the mandate remains in effect for schools and other state-run facilities.
After the encounter, Calus went to urgent care for evaluation, he said Wednesday, on Kimberly’s Revolution podcast. He said he was a ‘”little sore” but otherwise OK.
The father of two, who has one son in high school and another in college, claims the incident was unprovoked.
“I went into the building without a mask on. I signed in and they said ‘you need to wear a mask,’ he said on the podcast. “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 said the school board separated parents who refused to wear masks from the other abiding parents.
“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 sitting for about 15 or 20 minutes before the guard approached him. He was not surprised that the guard confronted him, as he had heard him approach other maskless parents and ask them to cover their faces.
Callus had planned to address the school board about mask mandates, which he is against, before he was removed.
“Dave has a genuine concern for his son, of course, first and foremost, but a genuine concern for the parents and the other children in Webster, in Monroe County, and in New York State who have been subjected to all of these ridiculous mandates,” Calus’ lawyer, Chad Hummel, told Spectrum 1 News.
The Webster Police department said Wednesday it is investigating the incident.
“There was an unfortunate incident during last night’s Webster CSD Board of Education meeting,” the school said in a statement obtained by statement, obtained by WHEC. “Prior to entering last night’s meeting, visitors were reminded to wear masks in school buildings as is mandated by New York State.”
“The individual … was asked to put his mask on three times and he refused. He was then asked to leave the meeting and refused to do so, resulting in Webster CSD security physically removing the individual from the meeting,” the statement said.
“We understand that individuals have strong feelings about masking. We hear those concerns and are continuing to monitor the rapid changes in this ongoing pandemic. This week, the Monroe County Council of School Superintendents wrote a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul advocating for guidance and guidelines regarding an exit strategy for masking and other mitigation strategies.”