- The Florida Department of Education has moved to withhold salaries of school board members from Alachua and Broward counties for mask mandates.
- This is despite a judge ruling Friday that Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban was unconstitutional.
- Florida is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases among children, with more than 26,000 cases among those under 12 in the week ending Aug. 26.
The Florida Department of Education has moved to withhold funds for schools in Alachua and Broward counties for mandating masks, Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran announced Monday.
The department said in a news release that schools in the counties violated parental rights “by not allowing a parent or legal guardian to opt-out their child.”
It said the monthly salaries of school board members in the two counties have been withheld, and will continue to be withheld until the school districts abide by “state rule and law.”
“We’re going to fight to protect parent’s rights to make health care decisions for their children,” Commissioner Corcoran said in a statement. “Simply said, elected officials cannot pick and choose what laws they want to follow,” he added.
The latest announcement came despite Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper ruling Friday that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis did not have the authority to issue an executive order banning mask mandates. Cooper ruled schools can impose the mandates, and said the mask ban was unconstitutional.
The Florida governor issued a ban on school mask mandates in July, saying the wearing of masks should be determined by parents and not schools. But since then, 10 school districts have defied the governor’s ban, going ahead with imposing mask mandates, reported Forbes.
Florida is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases among children. According to weekly data released by Florida’s health department, cases among children under 12 were up 30% in the week ending August 26, compared to the week before, while COVID-19 cases among those between 12 and 19 were up 26%
More than 26,000 cases were reported in those under 12 in the week ending Friday, while 21,000 cases were recorded among those between 12 and 19. The two age groups made up 32% of total cases recorded in the state.