DOE 'looking into' claims that Brevard students without masks were denied meals

The Florida Department of Education (DOE) is looking into allegations that students at Space Coast Junior-Senior High School were denied meals for not wearing a mask. FOX 35 News spoke with one girl who claimed it almost happened to her. 

"I said to her, ‘I’m getting the medical exemption’ and she just said ‘I don’t care. Put on a mask or get out.’ So I grabbed the mask and I just held it up over my face and she said, ‘I’m not dealing with this today,’" said Space Coast Junior-Senior High School eighth-grader Addilyn Orrick-Cole. 

Orrick-Cole was infuriated Monday when she said the cafeteria staff at Space Coast Junior-Senior High School nearly denied her breakfast because she wasn’t wearing a mask. 

"So I got my breakfast and then the other cashier said ‘Next time, please put it over your face,' and then I just left." 

Addie texted her mom, who went right to the principal and the district. 

"I am disgusted right now. I am embarrassed to be a part of this district." 

State Representative Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, said he has received several calls about this, including some from students who said they were flat-out denied meals. 

"There is no question that when you starve a kid you are hurting a child. That is no question what they have done," said Fine.

A school district spokesman said they have looked into it and these claims are unfounded. 

"Every time we’ve looked into, each and every time, it’s not been true. It’s irresponsible to suggest that a café worker would say to a student you do not get food with no evidence. Where is the evidence? We need to see it?" said Russell Bruhn, chief strategic communications officer for Brevard Public Schools.

The DOE says there is no formal investigation but they are looking into it.

Meanwhile, Addie says she’s had no issues since Monday. "It was like infuriating but they haven’t said anything since."

The district says they heard someone from the Department of Education was at the school observing Wednesday but they’ve had no communication with them. 

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