US DeSantis Vows to 'Vindicate' Parental Rights As Florida Schools Impose Mask Mandates
DeSantis Says He's Running for Reelection in 2022, Deflects Questions on Presidential Run
"That is way down the road. It's not anything that I'm planning for," Florida's governor said when asked about a 2024 run for the White House.DeSantis told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he will be running for reelection next year. DeSantis narrowly defeated Democrat Andrew Gillum in 2018, winning by less than half of a percentage point.
Florida Governorvowed to "vindicate" parental rights as more Florida school districts consider imposing mask mandates for the upcoming academic year.
Speaking at a press conference in Surfside on Tuesday, DeSantis said he believed it should be up to the parents to decide whether to force their children to wear face coverings during in-person instruction.
DeSantis confronts growing resistance over COVID-19 handling
MELBOURNE BEACH, Fla. - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is facing growing resistance to his hard-line stance against COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandates. Officials in a handful of Florida school districts are moving to flout DeSantis's July 30 executive order banning schools from requiring students to wear face masks, even as his administration threatens to withhold pay to superintendents and school board members who defy his orders. At the Officials in a handful of Florida school districts are moving to flout DeSantis's July 30 executive order banning schools from requiring students to wear face masks, even as his administration threatens to withhold pay to superintendents and school board members who defy his orders.
"I don't think government should override that, so for me it's about the parents and it's about trying to vindicate parents' ability to make these decisions," the Republican said.
At least two school districts—Leon County and Alachua County—will require students to wear masks, citing concerns over the recent surge of COVID-19 cases fueled by the Delta variant.
"If something happened and things went sideways for us this week and next week as we started school, and heaven forbid we lost a child to this virus, I can't just simply blame the governor of the state. I can't," Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna said during a press conference on Monday.
The school's mandates go against DeSantis's executive order making face masks optional across the state in schools.
Local school boards emerge as hot races in November election
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — In a school district near the Ohio state capital, school board members up for reelection this year have been subjected to a steady stream of lawsuits and attacks, both in-person and online. In another, an incumbent up for reelection who supports student mask requirements received a letter from someone angered by her stance who warned: “We are coming after you.” A 15-year veteran board member in yet another Ohio district decided against running for reelection because of the escalating public attacks. © Provided by Associated Press Campaign yard signs line a yard Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Worthington, Ohio.
On Monday, the governor's office released a statement threatening to withhold the salaries of superintendents and school board members who impose mask requirements.
When asked Tuesday about the possibility of pulling state funds for districts with mask mandates, DeSantis said his administration will do "whatever we can to vindicate the rights of parents."
"You're free to recommend. You can encourage whatever you want, but I just don't think you can override the rights and the decisions of the parents," DeSantis said.
The superintendent of Miami-Dade Public Schools has said his district, which is one the state's largest public school systems, is also considering mask requirements when schools open in the next few weeks.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools' superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he won't be intimidated by DeSantis's threat to withhold pay.
"At no point shall I allow my decision to be influenced by a threat to my paycheck, a small price to pay considering the gravity of this issue and the potential impact to the health and well-being of our students and dedicated employees," Carvalho said in a statement to CBSMiami.
Florida School Official Willing to Face DeSantis' Financial Risks in Order to Require Masks
"I am not going to back away from that with the threat of him withholding my salary," Alachua County School Board Vice Chair Tina Certain told Newsweek. "I stand by that." DeSantis has taken several steps to prevent schools from implementing COVID-19 mask mandates, arguing that the decision should be left to parents. He issued an executive order banning mask mandates—an order that is being challenged by several lawsuits. On Monday, DeSantis went a step further and announced that officials who defy the orders might have their pay withheld by the state.
Florida is seeing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention () reported 23,903 new cases in Florida on Friday, which was the state's highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic. The state accounted for 19.1 percent of the country's new cases on Friday, according to the CDC.
Florida Governor DeSantis threatens to SUE Biden over vaccine mandates .
The Republican Florida governor said he'd challenge Biden in the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals during a Thursday news briefing, adding that he thought Florida 'has standing to do it.''We are going to contest that immediately. We think the state of Florida has standing to do it,' DeSantis said during a press conference at the Florida Department of Health at Lee County. 'We also know businesses that we’re going to work with to contest it.