Deadline for Defiant Florida School Boards Is Imminent, Facing Salary Suspensions


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is giving defiant school boards and school officials who are not following his executive order banning mask mandates until Friday to comply with the order.

Specifically, Broward County Schools received a letter from the Florida Board of Education saying Broward must backtrack on their district-wide mask mandate by 5:00 p.m. Friday. DeSantis’ executive order threatened the possibility of salaries being withheld for officials or school boards who act against the order.

“Depending on the facts presented, I may recommend to the State Board of Education that the department withhold funds in an amount equal to the salaries for the Superintendent and all the members of the School Board,” said Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran in a letter to Broward Schools. “There is no room for error or leniency when it comes to ensuring compliance with policies that allow parents and guardians to make health and educational choices for their children.”

Leon County, one of the most recent counties to implement a mask mandate, received a similar letter from Corcoran. On Tuesday night, the Leon County School Board amended their mask mandate to include a parent permission opt-out form, similar to Hillsborough and Duval school districts. Leon County previously said they were only going to allow mask exemptions for those who got a permission form signed by a physician or psychologist.

The letter from Corcoran to the defiant school districts includes a provision saying the Department of Education will be launching an investigation into their decision to act against the order.

DeSantis has maintained for months he will not be allowing school districts to be infringing on the rights of the parents regarding their children being masked. Last week, DeSantis told President Joe Biden, who criticized Florida’s approach to the COVID pandemic in schools, he would “stand up for kids.”

“[In Florida] we’re a free state, people are going to be free to choose, to make their own decision about themselves, about their families, about their kids’ education, and about putting food on the table, and Joe Biden suggests that if you don’t do lockdown policies then you should “get out of the way.” But let me tell you this, if you’re coming after rights of parents in Florida, I’m standing in your way. I’m not going to let you get away with it.”

“If you’re trying to deny kids a proper in-person education, I’m going to stand in your way and I’m going to stand up for the kids in Florida. If you’re trying to restrict people, impose mandates, if you’re trying to ruin their jobs and livelihood, and their small business, if you’re trying to lock people down, I’m standing in your way, and I’m standing for the people of Florida.”


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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Back to School” by Jill Carlson (CC BY 2.0).


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