Unlike most Republicans, Ron DeSantis doesn’t seem inclined to back down, and he’s not backing down in the face of riotous school districts seeking to challenge his ban on mask mandates for school-age children.
The Florida governor issued the original order a few weeks ago. That was a no-brainer, in my opinion, as children are not at serious risk from COVID and they do not represent a serious vector of spread. Those claims proved to be true last year when schools were opened across the country, some without mask mandates, and the results speak for themselves. Also, because all teachers have had the opportunity to get vaccinated at this time, there is no excuse to continue using children as human shields when it comes to News Block.
Masks, specifically the fabric variant used by children, are not effective in general, but that is especially true when talking about an age group that cannot be expected to use them correctly. Masks can restrict breathing, cause skin problems, and are generally unsanitary for children when worn all day. There are also serious psychological problems to worry about.
However, getting back to normal, DeSantis’s order was disobeyed by several school districts who said they would impose a mask mandate anyway. The Florida Board of Education responded by allowing parents to collect coupons for their education money, removing funds from the schools in question.
But DeSantis’ latest move may be the one that makes the biggest difference.
#BREAK: @GovRonDeSantis office issued a statement to # CBS4 that @ EducationFL could withhold the salaries of superintendents and school board members who implement #maskmandates. Full statement ➡️ https://t.co/1XP7fMtPO7
– CBS4 Miami (@CBSMiami) August 9, 2021
This appears to be still in the planning stages, but DeSantis has been working closely with the state board of education. That’s where the coupon program came from. Since there is no reason to doubt that this action will be taken in the near future. If so, it will put these superintendents and other school board members in a position where they can no longer simply be a mark of virtue to the applause of the media. Instead, they will get hit in their own wallets, and that tends to make people back off.
This is why so many people like DeSantis. Whether or not he can finally win this fight is an open question, but he is willing to fight anyway. That’s a quality not found in many Republicans, most of whom are always looking for a way out when it comes to conflict. DeSantis, on the other hand, puts the residents of his state first, without giving in to media pressure. He risks his neck and does what he thinks is right. That, in a nutshell, is leadership.
We’ll see where this is all going. School begins this week in most of Florida, so it is a crucial time and parents must also be willing to practice disobedience.