By Laurel Duggan
The Florida Board of Education is sanctioning eight school districts for imposing mask mandates without opt-out options in violation of an executive order.
Board of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran asked to penalize the districts by withholding funds equivalent to 1/12 of school board members’ salaries. He will also withhold the amount of funds equivalent to federal grants President Joe Biden’s administration gives to those districts, CNN reported.
School board members of the eight sanctioned districts “willingly and knowingly violated the rights of students and parents by denying them the option to make personal and private health care and educational decisions for their children,” the state Board of Education wrote in a statement.
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Brevard County Schools Superintendent Mark Mullins argued in favor of mask mandates, claiming that schools opening without them led to “catastrophic outcomes for our schools and community,” CNN reported. (RELATED: ‘Governor Who? That’s My Response’: Biden Laughs Off Question About Ron DeSantis, COVID-19 Restrictions)
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis banned mask mandates in schools in a July 30 executive order. The Biden administration announced Aug. 13 that schools districts blocked from state funding for defying the ban on mask mandates could use federal relief funds instead.
The Florida 1st District Court of Appeals reimposed a stay on a lower court’s ruling that blocked the mask mandate ban Sept. 10.
Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Duval, Leon, Miami-Dade, Orange and Palm Beach counties will be affected. Miami-Dade and Broward are the state’s two largest school districts, according to Niche.