On Sunday, Leon County Schools, home to the capital city of Tallahassee, became another school district in Florida to institute a mask mandate for students that doesn’t give parents the choice to opt out, bucking an order from Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). On Friday August 20th, the Sarasota County school board voted to require masks. On Wednesday August 18th the Hillsborough, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade County school boards all voted in favor of enacting mask protocols to protect the health and lives of their students, their employees and their families. They joined the Alachua and Broward County school boards, both of which had previously voted to institute these prudent public health measures in their districts.
In reaction to the Wednesday votes Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz issued the following statement:
“I applaud the Hillsborough, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade County school boards for standing up for Florida’s kids, the staff at their schools and their communities as a whole. At a time when these officials are being threatened by an authoritarian and irresponsible Governor, their courage should inspire us all to push back against those who would place everyone’s health at risk.
“These leaders are fighting for the freedom to be able to learn or work in an environment that is as safe as possible under the difficult circumstances we face. Prudent mask protocols mean freedom from the fear that a rampant public health threat will continue to stalk every one of us because we are unwilling to take the simple, common-sense steps scientists recommend to attenuate it.
“The school board members and superintendents in these counties are showing us what true leadership is all about. They have put their careers and financial stability on the line to resist Ron DeSantis’s cynical machinations, which are endangering our communities to advance his personal political ambitions, no matter the risks. While the vacuum of leadership persists at the Governor’s mansion, local officials are showing the courage and compassion Floridians should expect from any leader elected to a position of authority in our state.”