FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The Broward County School Board is paying the price for upholding mask mandates in schools across the county, but the face mask fight is far from over.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said there would be consequences.
“And that’s what they’re doing, they’re taking away parents’ rights,” he said.
The Florida Department of Education is withholding funds equivalent to the monthly paychecks of Broward School Board members who voted against the governor’s ban on masks.
“To have your income threatened, it impacts your family,” said Broward School Board member Dr. Rosalind Osgood. “For me personally, being an African American, it is creating anxiety in other ways to me because as a nation, we have moved forward and taken a stance as a nation that we’re not gonna have people work and not pay them.”
The Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran released a statement saying in part, “We’re going to fight to protect parents’ rights to make health care decisions for their children. They know what is best for their children. What’s unacceptable is the politicians who have raised their right hands and pledged, under oath, to uphold the constitution but are not doing so. Simply said, elected officials cannot pick and choose what laws they want to follow.”
“We’re surprised that they went ahead and proceeded in that direction given that we are trying to be good partners with them right now and with the Department of Education, and that we are complying with the sanctions that they are placing upon us,” said Broward Schools Interim Superintendent Vicki Cartwright. “And so, it was a little disappointing that they continued to proceed forward knowing that this is going to be continuing in the court system.”
Broward County Schools’ interim superintendent said based on the advice of its lawyers and the recent ruling of Judge Cooper, the district is in compliance.
“The health and the safety of our students, teachers and staff continues to be our highest priority. As such, we will continue to mandate the masks.”
Judge John Cooper is expected to formally file his ruling Tuesday.
“As soon as that happens, it is also anticipated that the governor will appeal that decision,” said Broward County School Board attorney Marilyn Batista.
Once that is done, a stay will be issued.
“You would have to continue to enforce or follow whatever the prior orders that have been issued by the Department of Education and the Department of Health,” Batista said.
Employers for Broward County reminded its board members that the oath they took was to follow the State of Florida’s constitution, which Batistia said they are doing.
“The language of the school board shall operate control and supervise for free public schools was held by Judge Cooper to be paramount and to override, in this case, the actions of the executive order from the governor,” Batista said.
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