Ron DeSantis Hits Law-Breaking School Districts Hard With Latest Move

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

As RedState reported previously, Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education have been preparing their next move in the fight against a series of mutinous school districts. Those districts have violated a state order by not offering an opt-out policy for parents that do not wish to have their children abide by mask mandates. That opt-out policy also can not be restrictive, i.e. it can’t require a doctor’s note.

Now, that next move has been taken. Today, the Florida Department of Education informed Broward County that pay will be cut on Friday if they do not change course.

RedState has obtained the letter that was sent.

This comes after Jen Psaki indicated that the Biden administration would attempt to pay any officials who had their pay cut. Whether that would be legal is an open question (where would the appropriation come from?), but that hasn’t been an impediment to the administration thus far as shown by their illegal eviction moratorium extension.

Regardless, DeSantis and the Board of Education are doing the right thing here. The goal is to win this battle, and while the risk of losing will always exist, you are guaranteed to lose if you don’t fight. That penchant for not backing down is why DeSantis has gained so much traction among Republicans and independents alike. That willingness to engage and keep pressing may make some on the right uncomfortable, but protecting the rights of parents to make these crucial decisions for their children is worth the effort.

RedState asked DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, for comment on where all of this is headed and what it will look like. This is what she had to say.

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.

Education funding is intended to benefit students first and foremost, not systems. The Governor’s priorities are protecting parents’ rights and ensuring that every student has access to a high-quality education that meets their unique needs.

A narrowly tailored approach seems like the right path forward, in my view. The teachers have no say in what these school board members and superintendents are doing. The children also shouldn’t be punished (though, parents can take vouchers and remove their kids if they choose, which is a great development). Make these officials miss some paychecks and then find out just how dedicated they are to their cause.

Besides, there is no science behind mask mandates for children (or anyone else). Even Australia, which is as locked down as any nation on earth due to COVID, does not attempt to make children under 12 wear masks. That the United States is trying to do so is pure idiocy, not backed by any data whatsoever. These school districts are not operating off of evidence. Rather, they trying to stick their finger in DeSantis’ eye for political reasons. He’s not backing down, though, and that’s great to see.