When God was 13, he got a job cleaning the monkey houses at the zoo. Everyone kept warning him that the toughest part of the job was the smell, but God had created Texas at this point so he was used to stink. God arrived early on his first day because he wanted to make a good impression. After orientation, God walked into the first monkey house and the smell overwhelmed him. He stumbled out into the parking lot and vomited.
Thus, Florida was born.
It’s been a mess ever since.
Despite a state judge finding that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates was unconstitutional, the Florida Department of Education withheld funds, as threatened, from local school districts for trying to keep children safe.
On Monday, Florida’s education commissioner announced the state was withholding funds from Alachua and Broward counties “for their continued violation of state law.”
“We’re going to fight to protect parent’s rights to make health care decisions for their children. They know what is best for their children,” Richard Corcoran said in a statement Monday, NBC News reports.
The funds, which reportedly amount to “the monthly school board member salaries,” would continue to be withheld in both counties until the school districts stopped requiring children to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“What’s unacceptable is the politicians who have raised their right hands and pledged, under oath, to uphold the Constitution but are not doing so. Simply said, elected officials cannot pick and choose what laws they want to follow,” Corcoran said.
Alachua County Public Schools Superintendent Carlee Simon told NBC News in a statement Tuesday 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. They deserve praise, not penalties,” she said.
Simon also noted that the school district was looking to take legal action to “ensure that Florida’s districts have the right to act in the best interests of those they serve.”
Broward County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Vicky Cartwright echoed Simon’s position and noted that the actions of the school district were in compliance with the law.
“The health and safety of our students, teachers and staff continue to be our main priorities. As such, BCPS will continue to mandate masks, knowing the data shows they help minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our schools,” Cartwright said in a statement, NBC Miami reports. “As previously stated, this decision will be reviewed by the School Board after Labor Day as conditions may change and modification may be appropriate.”
Jared Ochs, the director of communications for the state’s Department of Education, told NBC News in an email Tuesday that they’ve been withholding funds since Thursday.
“Our Department plans on continuing to follow the rule of law until such time as the Court issues its ruling, and subsequent to that ruling, we plan on immediately appealing this decision to the First DCA, from which we will seek to stay the ruling,” he said.
And keep in mind this is for Florida parents to decide whether or not their children should wear masks ensuring their safety.
In case you forgot, Florida is the outbreak monkey of states, as the virus has regrouped and come out stronger as the Delta variant, and the state is leading the country in “record new cases and hospitalizations as the school year began earlier this month. In July, DeSantis, a Republican, barred local school districts from requiring students to wear masks even as the nation [and] the state battled a resurgence of the coronavirus,” NBC News notes.