FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The Broward County School Board has voted to keep their mask mandate for students in place for the upcoming school year, despite the governor’s threat to withhold salary and funding to districts who impose such mandates.

In a vote of 8-1 on Tuesday, the board ruled in favor of the mandate. The board will also hire outside legal counsel to challenge the state’s rules and executive orders.

“Bring it. Bring it, because when you put that out there, it makes me work harder for our schoolchildren and our families,” BCPS Board Member Nora Rupert said.

The vote comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order blocking school districts from implementing mask mandates.

The governor also threatened to withhold the salaries of superintendents and school board members who enforce mask mandates.

“I have a moral responsibility to be my brother and sister’s keeper, even if it means my salary is taken away,” BCPS Board Member Dr. Rosalind Osgood said. “As a person that has to govern with a moral conscience, people’s lives are invaluable, even if it means I’m not going to get a paycheck. At the end of the day, we refuse to be bullied.”

A heated argument was recorded between two women outside of the school board building as members inside met.

Dozens of protesters could be seen with signs — for and against mask mandates.

“You gotta think about the long-term mental health of the kids!” said one protester.

“We have the kids more than they do. We have the kids for six, seven hours in the classroom,” said another protester wearing a mask.

“You and the school board do not have a right to decide for me, as a parent, what I do with my child’s medical decisions,” a woman said.

Board members and other officials in the meantime discussed the reopening plan and mask-wearing policy.

“I think that the governor is a bully,” said Florida Sen. Perry E. Thurston, Jr. “He’s trying to intimidate the school board members who we have selected to protect our children.”

Those who signed up to speak to the school board members were allowed two minutes to have their voices heard.

“People are depending on you,” said Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco. “We did a phenomenal job last year through our summer experience not having the spread of COVID. One of those protocols was wearing a mask.”

“You have an entire community behind you,” said parent Nancy Fry. “Please ignore the few loud voices and the abuses of power and stand with your students and constituents. We’re behind you, please protect us.”

“I know you’re being threatened by the governor, and it takes a lot to stand up to the governor,” said another parent.

Others spoke up against a mask-wearing policy.

“I don’t feel comfortable with my son having to go to school and having to wear a mask the entire day, five days a week,” said one parent.

The only exception for mask-wearing will be for medical reasons.

“We need to keep our youngest children safe,” said one woman.

Two other Florida districts that have already implemented mask mandates for the upcoming school year have received letters from the governor’s office demanding an explanation.

Florida’s Education Commissioner sent a letter to the board chair and interim superintendent that reads, in part, “I am immediately initiating an investigation of non-compliance … I may recommend … that the department withhold funds in an amount equal to the salaries for the superintendent and all members of the school board.”

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden spoke about the issue.

“If a principal says, ‘Everyone in my school should wear a mask,’ or a school board votes for it, that governor will nullify that. That governor has the authority to say, ‘You can’t do that.’ I find that totally counterintuitive and, quite frankly, disingenuous,” said Biden.

Miami-Dade County will take up a mask mandate debate next week.

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