FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Florida’s education chief says he wants to punish Broward County Public Schools for not following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order that calls for masking to be optional.
Richard Corcoran is calling for sanctions but hasn’t yet said what kind.
In a letter sent to Broward schools on Tuesday, Corcoran wrote that, “I find there is probable cause that the School Board of Broward County and the district’s superintendent, Vickie Cartwright, acted contrary to the law.”
Last week, Corcoran threatened to withhold salaries of superintendents and school board members.
The state’s board of education held an emergency meeting Tuesday afternoon where it discussed possible sanctions for school districts not following DeSantis’ order banning mask mandates — including Broward County.
The board ultimately voted unanimously to punish Broward County, and Alachua County, for their mask mandates, though specific sanctions were not decided on.
WATCH THE VIDEO OF THE MEETNIG BELOW:
On Wednesday morning, Broward schools will be back in session and everyone will have to wear a mask — unless a student was able to medically opt-out.
The district said that so far medical exceptions have been accepted for about 200 students who meet the established criteria set by the school board policy. “Requests will continue to be processed. Additional information is available at browardschools.com/maskexception,” the district said.
The full mask policy can be seen by clicking here.
“Campus as a whole and the specific teachers with whom those students interact with are fully aware of any of these conditions,” Chief Academic Officer Dan Gohl said.
#NOW: #Florida #Education Commisioner @richardcorcoran tells @browardschools they are breaking law by not following @GovRonDeSantis order to make masks optional in #schools. Corcoran wants sanctions on Broward, #Alachua counties. WATCH 4pm meeting #LIVE: https://t.co/VrbPUSBTBz pic.twitter.com/DpUGwfazIh— Hatzel Vela (@HatzelVelaWPLG) August 17, 2021
School officials say they met with principals Monday night to talk about mask implementation.
“If they do not have an exception, a qualifiable exception, we want to provide them a mask. We want to continue to urge them to wear a mask,” said Jeffrey Moquin, chief of staff for Broward schools.
Parents of those who don’t comply will be notified.
And the rule says: “If a student blatantly disregards the health and safety of others and/or refuses to comply with wearing a face covering, discipline will be in accordance with the code of student conduct.”
So what kind of discipline would there be?
“If they’re just blatantly not going to comply then they will ask to be picked up,” Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco said.
But in a school board meeting Tuesday, there was a sense the punishment won’t be harsh.
“This isn’t a sort of punitive type thing where if someone shows up without a mask that we’re going to take disciplinary action against them immediately,” Moquin said.