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Florida Gov. DeSantis Slams FBI Review Of Threats Against Teachers Over Covid Guidelines

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at October 5, 2021


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) issued a fiery response Tuesday to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s announcement that he’s calling in the Federal Bureau of Investigation to help respond to threats made against school workers for enforcing Covid-19 safety guidelines, with the governor saying Florida “will not allow federal agents to squelch dissent.”

Key Facts

In a memorandum Monday, Garland said he was directing the FBI to work with prosecutors and local officials to discuss “strategies for addressing threats” against school workers in the goal of coming up with a system for threat reporting, assessment and response.

The announcement comes less than a week after the National School Board Association (NSBA), which represents local school board officials around the U.S., sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting FBI intervention to help combat “angry mobs” that have been appearing at school board meetings to protest Covid restrictions.

The letter mentioned more than 20 examples of intimidation against officials, including some in Florida.

As governor of the nation’s third-largest state, DeSantis has been one of the most powerful figures blocking public Covid safety measures.

Crucial Quote

“Attorney General Garland is weaponizing the DOJ by using the FBI to pursue concerned parents and silence them through intimidation,” DeSantis tweeted Tuesday.

Key Background

Scenes of angry parents threatening officials over Covid restrictions, especially mask mandates, played out across the country in late summer as school districts worked to come up with policies for the upcoming school year. In Florida, DeSantis has made clear that his administration is against essentially all public Covid restrictions, especially when it comes to schools. In August, the Florida State Board of Education enacted a new policy that allows students to transfer from public to private schools if they encounter what the state deems to be “COVID-19 harassment,” with taxpayers footing the bill to cover private school tuition. The state defines “COVID-19 harassment” as “any threatening, discriminatory, insulting, or dehumanizing verbal, written or physical conduct an individual student suffers” because of Covid protocols. Being asked to wear a mask qualifies as a reason for a student to transfer under the policy.

What To Watch For

The Biden administration has begun reimbursing school districts in Florida that had funding pulled by the state government over mask mandates. The state has been withholding funding equal to local school board members’ salaries, but the state education commissioner on Monday recommended the state increase its penalties so the federal reimbursement can’t cancel them out.

Further Reading

Biden Administration Doles Out Money To Florida Schools Penalized For Imposing Mask Mandates Against State Rules (Forbes)

Florida May Cover Tuition For Students Allegedly Bullied For Not Wearing Mask (Forbes)

Florida’s DeSantis Signing Order To Block Mask Mandates In Schools (Forbes)

Florida To Yank Funding For 2 School Districts That Imposed Mask Mandates—Unless They’re Lifted Within 48 Hours (Forbes)

Garland says authorities will target school board threats (The Associated Press)

Florida School Mask Wars Heat Up: Commissioner Wants To Punish Schools That Take Biden Plan’s Funding (Forbes)

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