A Florida teenager was arrested at his high school for a parole violation — when he took off his mask during a panic attack, according to a report.
The 16-year-old student’s mother, Alexis Rodriguez, told the Orlando Sentinel that her son went to the school office because he was panicking, and only refused to wear a mask as he was having trouble breathing.
He was then issued a discipline referral by the dean of Winter Springs High School — and arrested because he was on probation and ordered not get in trouble on campus, the paper said, citing Seminole County Sheriff’s Office arrest reports.
“I couldn’t grasp it at first. Because of a mask?” Rodriguez said of the Sept. 17 arrest of her son, who was not identified.
“I was just in a disbelief,” she said, revealing that she had earlier met with school officials to ask for a mask-wearing exemption for her son because of his anxiety attacks.
The family’s attorney, Jose Rivas, called the arrest “government abuse.”
“We will be seeking just and fair compensation for the illegal arrest … and the harm that this action caused him,” he told the paper. “Should they be arresting a 16-year-old child knowing he already has a medical condition?”
A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office insisted the arrest was for probation violations, and not directly for breaking the district’s strict rule on all students and teachers wearing masks. Rodriquez refused to tell the paper why her son was on probation.
The sheriff’s office report said that the teenager “had been asked to wear a mask multiple times without putting it on” and also refused to keep his “social distance” from school staff.
The teen also “never mentioned feeling ill or any other medical reason why he could not comply” with the rules, the arrest report claimed.
Seminole school district told the paper it does not comment on student discipline issues.
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