The State Board of Education’s threat Tuesday to remove School Board members who disobey Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on mandatory mask mandates for students has one state Senator on edge, thinking it’s too reminiscent of countries many of her constituents have fled.
Miami-Dade Sen. Annette Taddeo tweeted Politico’s story about the board members’ possible removal with a suggestion it sounds like something controversial leaders Nicolás Maduro Moros, Fidel Castro and Daniel Ortega would do.
This kind of action should be reserved for when elected officials are under investigation charge for actual wrongdoing, she said.
“To remove school board members elected by the people because they disagree with his (DeSantis’) frankly unconstitutional order to not allow local, elected boards to make decisions on what is best for their community … it’s insane,” Taddeo said. “This is the way that a dictator behaves. I can’t believe I’m witnessing this.”
But Christina Pushaw, the Governor’s spokeswoman, said tyranny is exactly what her boss is fighting against.
“Limiting the power of government to infringe upon the rights of parents to raise their own children is exactly the opposite of what happens in Communist dictatorships,” she said.
As COVID-19 cases have spiked in the state, Alachua and Broward counties’ school boards voted to require students to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. Students are exempt from mask-wearing only with a medical reason documented by a doctor. DeSantis and State Education Board members say that requirement violates parents’ rights to make medical decisions for their children.
Defiance of DeSantis’ order is spreading. Taddeo said she plans to go to the Miami-Dade County School Board meeting Wednesday to urge the board to follow its medical experts’ advice to require face coverings for all students indoors unless they have a doctor’s note.
Taddeo said she found the invocation of parents’ rights during a pandemic ridiculous.
“Is he (DeSantis) going to remove the seat belt law because parents decide not to put them on?” she asked rhetorically. “Are we no longer going to have car seats for babies because it’s my right to put them in the front seat if I want? We have rules in society and the Governor is not king.”