Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is laying down the law on schools that defy his order preventing mask mandates from being inflicted on children.
On July 30, the Republican governor issued an executive order stating parents are the only ones who should have the right to decide if their children need masks in school.
That led DeSantis to issue a statement saying decision-makers who impose the burden of masks on children will pay a price — literally.
“We want [masks] to be a parental choice.” – Anita Whitby-Davis, Mother of two sons and parent liaison pic.twitter.com/IVFhs9hvhV
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) July 31, 2021
“With respect to enforcing any financial consequences for noncompliance of state law regarding these rules and ultimately the rights of parents to make decisions about their children’s education and health care decisions, it would be the goal of the State Board of Education to narrowly tailor any financial consequences to the offense committed,” DeSantis’ office said in a statement, according to WFOR-TV.
“For example, the State Board of Education could move to withhold the salary of the district superintendent or school board members, as a narrowly tailored means to address the decision-makers who led to the violation of law.”
DeSantis’ office said tax dollars should not flow to schools that put students and parents last.
“Education funding is intended to benefit students first and foremost, not systems. The Governor’s priorities are protecting parents’ rights and ensuring that every student has access to a high-quality education that meets their unique needs,” the statement said.
The statement followed through on a part of DeSantis’ executive order that said, “if the State Board of Education determines that a district school board is unwilling or unable to comply with the law, the State Board shall have the authority to, among other things, withhold the transfer of state funds, discretionary grant funds, discretionary lottery funds, or any other funds specified as eligible for this purpose by the Legislature until the school district complies with the law or state board rule and declare the school district ineligible for competitive grants.”
A spokeswoman for DeSantis later noted the financial penalty would only target decision-makers, not teachers and other school staff.
More disinformation from Nikki Fried. Schools wouldn’t be defunded. Only the salaries of those superintendents and school board members who intentionally defy the EO and the subsequent rules protecting parents’ rights. Think of it like targeted sanctions. https://t.co/xGWFLisRzQ
— Christina Pushaw (@ChristinaPushaw) August 9, 2021
“All parents deserve the freedom to choose whether to opt out their own child,” Pushaw said in a statement. “This should not be contingent on their ability to procure a doctor’s note. These policies violate the spirit of the (executive order).”
Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho shrugged off DeSantis’s statement and issued one of his own.
“We have established a process that requires consultation with experts in the areas of public health and medicine. We will follow this process, which has served us well, and then make a final decision,” he said, according to WFOR.
“At no point shall I allow my decision to be influenced by a threat to my paycheck; a small price to pay considering the gravity of this issue and the potential impact to the health and well-being of our students and dedicated employees,” he continued. “I want to thank the Governor for recognizing that students should not be penalized.”
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