Q&A Of The Day – How Can Local School Boards Defy Florida Law? Part 2
Bottom Line: What’s happens next is critical in determining not just what mask policies and parental rights will or won’t be in Florida’s schools but also issues like Critical Race Theory. Consider, if local school districts are willing to deliberately vote to violate the Florida Board of Education’s policy regarding parental choice for masks, what’s stopping them from doing the same with Critical Race Theory? Or insert another topic/issue here. There are three possible outcomes.
- Courts side with the legal challenges against the state thus making the mask mandates by local boards legal
- Courts uphold the state’s position and parental bill of rights and the state takes sweeping actions against the offending officials
- Courts uphold the state’s position and parental bill of rights but the state takes little or no action against the offending officials
Though I’ve not confirmed this with state officials, I’m of the view that the reason you haven’t seen the Florida Department of Education or Governor DeSantis take punitive action against any offending school districts or officials is due to the pending legal challenges. We’re in unchartered territory with what we’re witnessing right now. Yesterday a hearing before the Leon County Circuit Court took place. I believe the state wants clarity before taking substantive next steps. If the state moved to cut funds and/or to remove officials from office, only for the courts to strike down the state’s law and/or authority on this issue – the situation would be far worse to attempt to reconcile than if they wait until there’s legal clarity. I understand that’s not helpful for parents in real-time who are outraged by this, but it is the pragmatic approach. You’d mentioned that you’d already removed one child from school and were weighing the options of two others. I can’t advise you as what to do but I can offer up an opinion. If it were my kids, I’d want to limit the influence of South Florida’s rouge school boards and teachers' unions as much as possible. As a reminder, 78% of public-school teachers are members of a teacher’s union. With the option of the Hope Scholarship available to parents who are concerned about their child’s wellbeing pertaining to the mandatory wearing of masks in the classroom, that’s what I’d prioritize. I don’t think the issues regarding rouge educators and officials is limited to this mask debate in our traditional public schools.