‘Be more like Texas’: Nikki Fried tells DeSantis to back off on school mask mandate ban
Conflict for Governor, Commish.

DeSantis Fried 3.25.21
Texas has put a hold on enforcing its ban on local school mask mandates.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has a message for Gov. Ron DeSantis regarding school mask mandates: Follow Texas’ lead.

Like DeSantis, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has barred school districts from mandating that students wear masks. Texas’ ban, in fact, applied to any governmental entity. But Thursday, the Texas Education Agency said officials would stop enforcing that ban when it comes to schools, allowing local school districts to put mask mandates in place.

TEA officials said the decision was made in light of court challenges against the ban. The Texas Supreme Court had upheld Abbott’s order, but more lawsuits have been filed, and some local school districts have defied the order. COVID-19 cases are also surging in Texas. Abbott himself recently contracted a breakthrough case of COVID-19.

Florida is dealing with a sky-high level of hospitalizations, and several school boards are defying DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates. On Friday, Fried said Florida should be more like the Lone Star State in reacting to that reality.

“Follow the Texas Governor,” Fried said Friday in remarks directed at DeSantis, “and move on from this.”

Fried, who is running as a Democrat in the 2022 gubernatorial contest, has backed litigation challenging DeSantis’ order blocking local officials from installing mask mandates for students. At Friday’s news conference in Miami Gardens, Fried appeared alongside Democratic Sen. Shevrin Jones and reiterated her support for local school districts bucking DeSantis’ decision.

“I’m so proud of Miami-Dade, of Broward, of Palm Beach County, of Hillsborough, of Alachua,” Fried said, rattling off counties that are mandating masks as students have begun returning to classrooms.

Orange County is next. Potentially Sarasota is next. We are going to win this when we do this together, and of course, the White House has our backs.”

Gov. DeSantis has opposed mandating masks, arguing parents should make that decision for their kids. His administration has also pointed to data showing children are less susceptible to the worst effects of COVID-19.

But Friday, Fried argued students are already restricted in several other ways and that masking is a safety issue that can impact others.

“When a child goes into a school system, they have to get a note to leave the classroom to leave the restroom. There are certain dress codes they can’t wear in school. And there are certain times and parameters of how to get checked out of school, of how to call in when they’re sick. There’s all of these restrictions that are already put into schools to make sure that our kids are safe, that there is a productive educational environment,” Fried said.

She then argued the lack of masking could impact other students’ learning experiences.

“What happens to the freedoms and the liberties of the kids that have some type of disability that they can’t wear a mask? And so you’re now saying to them, ‘Your freedoms and your liberties to go to school are less than other families.’’”

Sen. Jones backed that messaging as he spoke alongside Fried.

“We are struggling with a spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations that DeSantis seems particularly unequipped to handle,” Jones argued.

“Masking, social distancing, is something that we need to continue right now. Why? Not because of politics, but because the experts have asked us to do it.”

Fried too urged Floridians to talk to their doctors to get guidance on how to stay safe.

“Go and talk to your health care experts. They will tell you the only way to get through this pandemic is getting the vaccine, masking up, being responsible.”

“We do not live in an isolated society. Love thy neighbor. That means that you have to not just for yourself; do it for your community. That’s the only way that our economy is going to stay on track, the only way that our kids are going to stay in school, the only way that our health care system isn’t going to be shattered by what is happening in our hospitals.”

There are signs that case counts may be peaking in parts of South Florida. But even if those trends hold, hospitals will likely remain strained for weeks. That’s because individuals can enter or remain in hospitals for days or weeks after infections.

Jones, who represents parts of Miami Gardens in Senate District 35, also spoke to the importance of vaccinations to help prevent future case surges.

“Nearly all families have felt the impact of this unprecedented health crisis, particularly in minority communities,” he said. “The COVID-19 vaccines are critical in helping us overcome this pandemic. It is the best and fastest way for us to safely get back to life and activities with our family, friends, and our loved ones.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


  • Alex

    August 20, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    Abbott, DesAnus’s far right partner in endangering human health backed off?


    Oh that had to chap our Governors fat do nothing ass.

    • Nikki

      August 20, 2021 at 1:17 pm

      I’d put up my fat ass Governor’s resume over your fat ass do nothing resume any day..

      • Alex

        August 20, 2021 at 1:22 pm

        So you agree he’s a do nothing fat ass.


        • Nikki

          August 20, 2021 at 1:25 pm

          No I don’t agree with that statement but do agree that you are a do nothing blowhard fat ass.

          • Alex

            August 20, 2021 at 1:26 pm

            Did I hurt your little feelings weenie?

          • Ben Crump

            August 20, 2021 at 1:27 pm

            Speaking of do nothing blowhards tune in and watch dementia man read the teleprompter and listen to the spin.

          • Alex

            August 20, 2021 at 1:29 pm

            Uh oh.

            I’ve hurt another weenies feelings.


        • Mike Jones

          August 20, 2021 at 1:43 pm

          So what is the fascination with wennies? You must be a friend of fellow weenie man Andrew Gillum.

          • Alex

            August 20, 2021 at 1:56 pm

            3 hurt feelings weenies in a row!

            I’m on a roll.

            I do love watching refuglicans get furious when triggered.

  • Matthew Lusk

    August 20, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    NIKKI, “love thy neighbor” doesn’t mean “make love to thy neighbor’s husband” and what about that $700,000 illegal campaign donation— I mean house?

Comments are closed.


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