(FiveNation.com)- Two school districts in Florida are taking a hard stance against Governor Ron DeSantis, and are likely to draw the ire of many parents as well.
The two districts, according to ABC News, won’t allow parents to opt their children out of having to wear masks while they’re in school. The moves are ultimately risking financial retribution that could come to the districts.
The superintendents of school districts in the counties of Alachua and Leon said they will enforce mask mandates in their districts. They say the surge in cases of COVID-19 because of the Delta variant is the reason why they won’t back down.
Rocky Hanna, the superintendent of Leon County, held a news conference recently where he said:
“If something happened and things went sideways for us this week and next week as we started school, and heaven forbid we lost a child to this virus, I can’t just simply blame the governor of the state. I can’t.
“If there’s an out and I didn’t take the out, and I didn’t do what was best for the children here in Tallahassee and Leon County, that’s on me.”
Currently, Florida is experiencing the highest number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 for pediatric patients in the entire country. The state is being hit nearly the hardest by the recent COVID-19 case surge. Nearly 20% of all new confirmed cases in the country are coming from Florida.
In Leon County, parents have two choices — they can either send their child to another school district in the state, or they can get a doctor to sign a note saying their child is OK to not wear a mask in school.
Over in Alachua County, Superintendent Carlee Simon is taking a similar approach. However, she said parents would not have the option of opting their children out of wearing a mask unless there was a serious medical reason.
She told ABC:
“I’m going to listen to the experts and let them guide this, and I think that’s what we need to do. The safety and the security and the quality of instructional hours are what matters right now. I know it appears I’m being combative, and I don’t want to be combative, but this is the responsibility I have in this position.”
On Monday, DeSantis sent a threat to these two school districts. In a statement, the governor said he may withhold the salary of any superintendent or school board member who defied his orders that children not wear masks in schools starting this fall.
His statement read:
“With respect to enforcing any financial consequences for noncompliance of state law regarding these rules and ultimately the rights of parents to make decisions about their children’s education and health care decisions, it would be the goal of the State Board of Education to narrowly tailor any financial consequences to the offense committed.
“For example, the State Board of Education could move to withhold the salary of the district superintendent or school board members, as a narrowly tailored means to address the decision-makers who led to the violation of law.”