‘It’s absolutely disgusting’: Indiana parent threatened with legal action for speaking against mask mandate

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An Indiana school district has threatened legal action against a parent accused of committing the crime of dissenting against the district’s mask mandate.

That parent, Damien Stafford, appeared on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” late Friday to tell his side of the story and share an important message with the American people.

According to Stafford, his issue is with the Whitley County Consolidated School District’s uneven application of its mask mandate.

“I told them that if they’re going to enforce this mask mandate, they need to do it universally, and they’re not wanting to do that. I disagree with the mask mandate, and we can debate about that, but they’re not wanting to listen. And because I’m the loudest, I think that they’re trying to shut me up,” he said.

Apparently, children don’t have to wear masks in the morning, but they do have to wear masks while being bused home in the afternoon. Stafford believes the mandate is ignored in the morning so that the district still remains eligible for federal funding.

“In the mornings, they don’t make the kids wear the masks. They’re supposed to, but what they say is they don’t want to deny any child an education, but we all know it’s so that they can get their federal dollars,” he said.

“In the afternoons, when my children get on the bus, the bus driver will ask them if they’re going to wear the mask, and if they say no, he calls that administration to remove them from the bus,” Stafford added.

According to a guide sheet written by Indiana State Republicans and published by the Indiana Association of School Business Officials, every public school in the state “receives the same base amount of per student funding.”

For the 2020-2021 school year, that amount was $5,703. It’s not clear how much it is for the 2021-2022 school year.

The point is that for every student who’s able to attend school, a stipend in grant money is doled out to the district.

(Source: Indiana ASBO)

“It’s absolutely disgusting, and as a disabled veteran who fought for the freedoms for people to choose, it’s just absolutely disgusting that this can happen here in America, and people need to stand up and say no more,” Stafford said.

He was then asked by Carlson to explain the legal action that the district has taken against him.

“What they’re telling me is I’m not allowed to communicate with any faculty staff. They haven’t actually filed a lawsuit. What they gave me was a cease and desist, that I’m not allowed to communicate with anybody at the school,” he said.

“They didn’t say in regards to this or in regards to that. They just said in general, I’m not allowed to communicate with anybody at the school, which, you know, my First Amendment says otherwise,” the Indiana father added.

The letter was published online earlier this month by REAL News Michiana, a conservative news publication out of Indiana.

“Henceforth, and until advised to the contrary, all communications or contact of whatsoever nature between you and any and all administrators, faculty and staff of WCCS shall be directly through my office,” the letter reads.

“In other words, you are to immediately cease and desist all communications or contact directly or indirectly with or to the employees of this school system, except through my office. … Your failure or refusal to comply with this directive will require further action, including legal proceedings,” it continues.

It was written by the district’s legal representative, attorney John W. Whiteleather Jr. of the firm Bloom, Gates, Shipman and Whiteleather.

REAL News Michiana notes that one of Whiteleather’s partners, Timothy Bloom, currently serves as the vice president of the district’s board of school trustees.

(Source: REAL News Michiana)

Continuing his remarks on Fox News, Stafford then asked host Tucker Carlson for permission “to speak directly to the American people.”

Carlson said yes.

Stafford then delivered a speech so powerful that it left the Fox News host floored.

“So these kinds of things, if you think it can’t happen where you live, you’re wrong. Whitley County is an amazing place to raise your family. We’ve got great schools and we do have the best teachers and faculty,” he said.

“Unfortunately what’s happened is, you know, the liberal left has implemented themselves into our education. They’ve been emboldened by the attorney general, Merrick Garland, former Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci,” the Indiana father added.

Concluding the speech, he then said, “And what I would like to say to them — we’re not your peasants, you’re not our king, we’re done!


In a statement made to REAL News Michiana earlier this month, he stressed that despite the threats from the district, he ain’t going anywhere.

“This letter is them trying to silence me. They’re trying to shut me up. I’m not going anywhere and they think they can scare me away,” he said.


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