The office of Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Monday that the Florida Board of Education could withhold the salaries of superintendents and school board members who defy the governor’s ban on mask mandates in schools.

DeSantis’ executive order banning mask mandates in schools stipulates that schools risk losing their state funding should they implement such a mandate.

DeSantis said the goal of withholding salaries is to “narrowly tailor any financial consequences to the offense committed.”

When speaking on August 5 about his ban on mask mandates in schools, DeSantis advocated for policies that enable parents to have more control over decisions impacting their children’s lives. He said, “Parents have the fundamental right to raise their children. . . . That has to be respected by the state at all levels of government. We believe that this should be a parent’s choice, and I think it flows from that bill.”

Some Florida public schools, however, remain opposed to DeSantis’ executive order and are opting to follow the guidance set forth by the CDC as the Delta variant continues to spread throughout the country.

Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of  Miami-Dade public schools, said that his decision about whether or not to implement a mask mandate would not be influenced by a “threat to my paycheck” when considering the “potential impact to the health and well-being of our students and dedicated employees.”

Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna held a press conference on Monday in which he said that despite DeSantis’ order, Leon County Schools will be moving forward with a mask mandate for students in preschool to eighth grade unless they have a medical exemption.

DeSantis’ executive order banning mask mandates in schools currently faces two challenges in court. Both lawsuits were filed on behalf of the school-aged children or their families. The plaintiffs are challenging DeSantis’ order on constitutional grounds.

One of the lawsuits was filed by a Democratic congressional candidate in Florida on behalf of his three children.

In recent weeks, Florida has faced a drastic uptick in COVID cases resulting in increased hospitalizations. There has not, however, been a significant increase in the number of Florida’s COVID deaths.

Source: The American Spectator

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