School board members in 3 South Florida counties stand by ‘science-based public health decisions’


MIAMI – School board members from Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties are considering filing a lawsuit to defend their decision to implement the use of face masks during the coronavirus pandemic.

A member from each of the three school boards met on Wednesday to discuss ways to respond to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ aggressive stance against the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation of a universal indoor face mask mandate.

School Board of Broward County member Sarah Leonardi, a former teacher, said she and her colleagues will continue to stand by “science-based public health decisions.”

Their position is the school boards are fulfilling their duties per the Florida Constitution (as identified under Article IX, Section 1, Paragraph a), which requires them to provide a safe, secure, and high-quality system of free public schools.

“It’s disappointing that the (State) Board of Education would want to prevent us from doing just that,” Leonardi said.

School Board of Miami-Dade County member Lucia Baez-Geller, a former teacher, said DeSantis shouldn’t have turned the health and safety of students into a political or partisan issue.

“We will not be deterred by the governor’s continual threats,” School Board of Palm Beach County member Alexandria Ayala said.

Leonardi also said the school board members have been the subject of anonymous threats.

Noon news conference

About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.