Florida Withholds Salaries of School Officials Over Mask Mandates

The Florida Department of Education announced on Aug. 30 that it has withheld the salaries of school board members in Alachua and Broward counties for implementing mask mandates.

The Department of Education said that the State Board of Education directed to withhold the salaries because their mandatory face mask policies amid the surge in COVID-19 cases is the state “violate the parental rights by not allowing a parent or legal guardian to opt-out their child.”

The withholding of funds will continue monthly until each school board complies, the department further said.

The announcement made no mention of the Aug. 27 court ruling that found that Republican Governor Ron DeSantis overstepped his authority when he banned school mask mandates in the state.

Alachua County Public Schools Superintendent Carlee Simon said on Aug. 31 that she was “very troubled by the state’s action.”

“Our School Board members made a courageous decision to protect the health and lives of students, staff and the people of this community, and a court has already ruled they had the legal right to do so,” Simon said.

Simon added that the school board has “already begun working with our colleagues in other districts to take legal action.”

Broward County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Vickie Cartwright said that she believed the district was also complying with the law and that they will continue to mandate masks.

Broward County School Board Chair Rosalind Osgood confirmed to ABC News that the county is working with Alachua to file a lawsuit.

According to data compiled by the New York Times, Florida recorded 31,164 new COVID-19 cases on Aug. 30, bringing the total to 3,231,846.

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