Video shows the moment a security guard forcibly dragged a New York father-of-two out of an upstate school board meeting Tuesday night because he was not wearing a face mask.
Dave Calus said he attended the regularly scheduled school board meeting to speak out against mask mandates in schools.
The alleged assault at the Webster School Board meeting near Rochester occurred just one day before Governor Kathy Hochul announced she was letting the statewide indoor mask mandate – which was slated to expire Wednesday – lapse.
The governor cited New York’s 93 percent drop in COVID-19 cases and declining hospitalization rates as the reasoning behind her decision.
The governor said she will review the school order – which has prompted outrage among students, parents and politicians – next month after students return to the classroom following their upcoming midwinter break.
The footage shows unmasked Calus sitting in a chair as he watches a presentation at the Webster School Board meeting when the security guard approaches him.
The security guard reportedly tells Calus: ‘Sir, you need to put a mask on.’
Calus said he replied with ‘thank you,’ but the security guard persisted: ‘No, you need to put your mask on right now.’ The father said he thanked the guard again but was met with another demand to put on a mask.
The guard is then seen grabbing the back of Calus’ chair, dragging him backward across the floor and yanking him out of his jacket, forcing him to stand.
Calus turns to face the guard, who is pointing to the door, before sitting back down in his chair.
The guard – seemingly angry – grabs the chair, placing one hand under the seat and the other on the back as he tips the chair over. The guard then pushes the father-of-two out of the room as bystanders yell: ‘What are you doing?! What are you doing?! That’s assault!’
Another questioned: ‘Do you put your hands on our children, too?’
Calus was removed from the meeting and taken to urgent care for evaluation. He said Wednesday, speaking exclusively on Kimberly’s Revolution podcast, he was a ‘little sore’ after the incident but otherwise OK.
Although the indoor mask mandate has since been repealed, it remains in effect at state-regulated facilities including schools, health care facilities, adult care facilities and nursing homes, correctional facilities, childcare centers, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters and on public transit. All other businesses, including shops, movie theaters, gyms/fitness centers and restaurants, are no longer ordered to require masks but can do so if they choose.
Dave Calus told the podcast he was approached by the guard while a first-grader was giving a presentation, noting he was ‘sitting peacefully.’
The father, who has one son in high school and another in college, claims the incident was unprovoked.
‘I want into the building without a mask on. I signed in and they said “you need to wear a mask,”‘ he recalled. ‘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 claims he proceeded to the board room, where he was met by staff who told him that if he didn’t wear a mask, he would be placed in isolation during the meeting.
‘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 placed in the classroom and decided ‘this isn’t going to work for me.’ Calus walked down to the main board room and was once again instructed to wear a mask.
‘I took a mask from the person who handed it to me, looped it around my ear, walked into the room, and sat down and put the mask in my pocket,’ he recalled.
He said he remained seated for 15 to 20 minutes before being approached by the security guard.
Calus also alleged that the security guard pushed another maskless attendee – a woman he claimed was ‘very active, very intelligent and very important’ to their fight against mandates – and ‘put his hand on her back’ and ‘forced her out of the room.’
‘I had heard him going up to other people behind where I was sitting, telling other people “You need to wear a mask, you need to wear a mask, you need to wear a mask,”‘ Calus said, sharing how he wasn’t shocked by the encounter.
‘So I knew it was just a matter of time before he got me.’
Webster Police Department, issuing a statement on Facebook, said their officers were not involved in the incident but they are conducting an investigation. After the investigation is complete, the department will determine whether ‘charges are appropriate’.