Ron DeSantis Follows Through On Taking Action Against Schools Who Target Children

( School districts in Florida are beginning to find out that there’s a lot of bite behind Governor Ron DeSantis’ bark.

This week, the state Board of Education unanimously voted to sanction two of Florida’s public school districts that have passed mask mandates for the fall term, despite DeSantis’ ban on doing so.

The districts in question, Broward and Alachua, are prohibiting parents from choosing whether their children should wear masks in school. The districts are requiring parents to get a note from a doctor to avoid having them wear masks.

DeSantis signed an executive order recently that banned this exact practice.

During Tuesday’s state Board of Education meeting, Richard Corcoran, Florida’s education commission, said:

“These districts, maybe while well-intentioned, have not followed the protocols. They have to comply with the law, whether they agree with it or not.”

The sanctions levied this week are the first of potentially several punishments that were given out against school districts in Florida. Following further investigation, the penalties will be laid out specifically.

Some possibilities, according to Tom Grady, the chairman of the Board of Education, are to withhold salaries from certain school officials and even to remove them from their positions.

At the same time these sanctions were handed down, the state’s largest public school district, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, is also considering imposing their own mask mandate.

Back in July, DeSantis signed his executive order that prevented school districts from making wearing masks in school a requirement. It could only be optional for students and parents.

He signed the executive order shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance, saying that all people — including students and teachers — should wear a mask while indoors, regardless of whether they were vaccinated.

When he signed the order, DeSantis issued a statement that read:

“The federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person, they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day. Many Florida schoolchildren have suffered under forced masking policies, and it is prudent to protect the ability of parents to make decisions regarding the wearing of masks by their children.”

DeSantis further said he signed the order to protect the rights of parents to choose what mitigation practices are best for their particular children, in relation to coronavirus protection. He also said it was his response to President Joe Biden’s “unscientific and inconsistent recommendations that school-aged children wear masks.”

Florida isn’t the only state taking this route, though. Governor Doug Ducey in Arizona announced this week that the state would block funds from school districts that had mask mandates — unless they changed course to comply with the state’s ban on that requirement.

In a statement, Ducey said:

“Safety recommendations are welcomed and encouraged — mandates that place more stress on students and families aren’t. These grants acknowledge efforts by schools and educators that are following state laws and keeping their classroom doors open for Arizona’s students.”