Well-Being

Florida orders school districts to drop mask mandates or face financial penalties

Story at a glance

  • The districts recently instituted mask requirements for students and staff in defiance of an order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) that prohibited mask requirements.
  • The Florida Department of Education said it will begin to withhold a portion of the schools’ funding if they don’t scale back the mandates.
  • The move is the latest in the battle between the state and local school officials concerned over outbreaks as Florida has recently become a COVID-19 hot spot.

Florida’s State Board of Education is ordering two school districts to do away with mask mandates or face financial penalties. 

School boards in Broward and Alachua counties must allow an opt-out option for masks on campuses within the next 48 hours or have a portion of their state funding withheld. 

The districts recently instituted mask requirements for students and staff in defiance of an order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) that prohibited mask requirements. The governor argues it should be up to parents to decide whether their children should wear masks at school. 

“School board members of districts have willingly and knowingly violated the rights of parents by denying them the option to make health care decisions for their children – a blatant violation of the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which Governor DeSantis signed into law on June 29, 2021,” the Board of Education said

If the school boards fail to comply, the Florida Department of Education will withhold “an amount equal to 1/12 of the total annual compensation of the school board members who voted to impose the unlawful mask mandates” on a monthly basis. 


Our country is in a historic fight against the Coronavirus. Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


The move is the latest in the battle between the state and local school officials concerned over outbreaks as Florida has recently become a COVID-19 hot spot. On Wednesday, Florida’s largest school district, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, also voted in favor of a mask mandate. 

“These public officials have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida. We cannot have government officials pick and choose what laws they want to follow,” Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said in a statement. 

“These are the initial consequences to their international refusal to follow state law and state rule to purposefully and willingly violate the rights of parents,” Corcoran said.

In response, President Biden reiterated the federal government’s intended support for local districts “safely reopening schools.”

“American Rescue Plan funds can be used to backfill the salaries of the brave Florida school board members, superintendents, and other educators keeping our children safe,” the president tweeted Friday.


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

STUDY SAYS NEW LAMBDA VARIANT COULD BE VACCINE-RESISTANT

AMERICAN ‘ARCHBISHOP’ IS DISTRIBUTING BLEACH AS ‘MIRACLE CURE’ FOR COVID-19

THE SIGNS YOU HAVE THE DELTA VARIANT ARE DIFFERENT THAN ORIGINAL COVID-19

EVIDENCE MOUNTS THAT DELTA VARIANT IS DANGEROUS FOR KIDS

THERE’S ONE KIND OF MASK THAT WON’T PROTECT YOU FROM THE DELTA VARIANT