The masks are not coming off: Broward schools indicates willingness to fight as feds offer aid

Children with face mask back at school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown.
Protecting students with disabilities cited in Broward's refusal to back down from threat of losing state aid.

As another salvo was fired Friday in the showdown between the state Education Department and the Broward School District, the Biden administration indicated it stands ready to back up those school districts willing to insist on mandatory masks.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has vowed to punish school districts that interfere with parents’ right to choose whether their child wears a mask to school. Hours after the Broward County School Board reaffirmed their vote for mandatory student masks on Tuesday, the district was officially put on notice that the state was prepared to withhold an amount of aid equal to the salary of the superintendent and School Board members.

The state gave the district until 5 p.m., Friday to explain how Broward County schools would be complying with the Governor’s emergency order. Its answer? Bring on the investigation.

The letter, signed by Interim Superintendent Vickie Cartwright and School Board Chairwoman Rosalind Osgood, cites the responsibility the district has to educate students with disabilities, along with the skyrocketing numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the county.

“Prioritizing parent-choice over safety and the advice of health experts in the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics threatens the safety in schools and does not promote a secure environment for students; thus, it is in direct violation of the Florida Constitutional mandates,” the letter to Richard Corcoran, state education commissioner says.

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona wrote in his own letter dated Friday that the administration has the backs of school districts ready to take on DeSantis and he praised defiant school leaders’ courage. Alachua County also started school requiring students to wear masks, unless they have a note from the doctor.

“I want you to know that the U.S. Department of Education stands with you,” Cardona wrote. “Your decisions are vital to safely reopen schools and maintain safe in-person instructions, and they are undoubtedly in the best interest of your students.”

Federal money could be used to offset  any financial penalty that mask-mandating districts may face from Tallahassee, Cardona wrote.

The letter marks the sharpest-yet pushback by the Biden administration to the state policies, and come days after the president indicated he did not believe he had direct authority to overturn the governors’ actions.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected]


10 comments

  • Andrew Finn

    August 13, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    Applause to the Broward School District people who will not back down and bow down to Emperor DeSantis and Vice Emperor Corcoran. Those two are having a contest to see who can be the biggest jackass every day. DeSantis is winning, but Corcoran is running a pretty good second. The two of them should be removed from their positions, and replaced by people who actually care about the people of Florida, and can actually do the jobs these two morons are miserable at.

    • NOJO NMP

      August 14, 2021 at 8:15 am

      You are sadly misinformed. Fight the dumping of busloads of infected immigrants into our communities in Florida and other parts of the country.

      • Alex

        August 14, 2021 at 9:33 am

        Prove that’s happening.

        Credible links only please.

        • Anna

          August 15, 2021 at 5:44 pm

          My neighbor’s aunt makes 62 every hour on the internet..iit she has been without work for eight months but the previous month her revenue was 19022 only working on the laptop 5 hours a day..

          check this …… http://PayBuzz1.Com

      • tjb

        August 14, 2021 at 10:23 am

        Finn is correct — Please fact check and send credible links verifying your comment NOJONMP

  • Alex

    August 13, 2021 at 11:28 pm

    DeathsAnus is losing.

    • NOJO NMP

      August 14, 2021 at 8:15 am

      AND you need to leave Florida

  • NOJO NMP

    August 14, 2021 at 8:13 am

    You are all misinformed. There is absolutely NO scientific reason for a child to wear a mask in school. Nobody protects Florida like DeSantis does and if you think otherwise you should just go read about what other states have done to their people. Why do you think everyone wants to live here.

    BIDEN has dementia and he is dumping busloads of infected immigrants into our communities. If you want to fight something….fight that!

    • Alex

      August 14, 2021 at 9:32 am

      Wow.

      That’s all lies.

  • mrs laura lowell

    August 14, 2021 at 8:22 am

    IN NYC playwright Dr Larry Myers
    “AMBIDEXTERITY
    is searing look at votes
    vaccination & vitriol
    PLAYWRIGHTS SANCTUARY

Comments are closed.


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