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TALLAHASSEE, FL – As the DeSantis administration continues its attempt to block school districts from imposing public-health protections on students, Democrats are fighting back by promising to launch a GoFundMe campaign. This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis threatened to dock the salaries of district superintendents and county school board members who mandate mask wearing in schools.
Sen. Bobby Powell, D-West Palm Beach, and his colleagues said if the governor moves forward, they will launch the GoFundMe effort.
“The number one goal that we have here is to make sure we’re protecting children, and if the federal government is going to help, we’re going to accept that help,” Powell asserted. “If the governor intends to defund public education, then we as Democrats will do everything in our power to fill the gap.”
The Governor’s statement was met with instant rebuke by many, including Leon County School Superintendent Rocky Hannah, who said, “You can’t put a price tag on someone’s life, including my salary.”
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White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki noted federal American Rescue Plan money intended to help Florida schools respond to COVID could also be used to help fill the gap. Masks are a key coronavirus-prevention tool that don’t pose health risks to kids, and the CDC has recommended their use in schools.
Powell argued the governor is simply playing politics.
“Playing political football with the lives of children or with the lives of people who live here in the state of Florida is not conducive to the ultimate goal of making this state a better place than when we found it,” Powell contended.
Last month, DeSantis issued an executive order forbidding schools to issue mask mandates. At least three school districts, in Alachua, Broward and Leon counties, have appeared to defy the governor’s order.