Did the State Board of Education’s Kangaroo Court embolden other school districts to defy DeSantis mask order?

Tuesday’s performative art-driven Kangaroo Court Board of Education emergency meeting resolved to crush any rebellion against Governor DeSantis’ July Executive Order banning mask mandates in schools. The meeting as we discussed previously on this site was a three-hour demonstration of bullying, misogyny and autocracy.

Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran whose hard-edged autocratic style made him one of the most effective and yet controversial Speakers of the Florida House in recent memory kicked off the meeting attacking the Biden Administration.

Board of Education Chair Tom Grady then proceeded to turn the meeting into a kangaroo court of hypothetical questions, whodunit commentary, and bullying while never even bothering to focus on Children’s health and safety.

If the thought-process behind Corcoran convening such a meeting and acting in such a ruthless manner toward Alachua and Broward counties was designed to send a message to other districts considering mask mandates, the meeting failed spectacularly.

On Wednesday, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties all passed mask mandates for indoor areas of schools. In the case of Hillsborough and Palm Beach, the mandates were reversals of a previous policy which saw between the two counties close to a 1,000 new COVID cases among students and staff as well several thousands of individuals quarantined just a week into the new school year.

Florida’s four largest counties component school districts now have a mask mandate. In fact, Miami-Dade, Broward and Hillsborough are three of the seven largest school districts in the nation.

Make no mistake about it – the Delta Variant is more transmissible and more potent than the previous strains of COVID-19 we dealt with in Florida. This makes the defenses of DeSantis and Corcoran that no real outbreak of COVID-19 happened last school year when physical facilities were reopened largely irrelevant. The data we have now, from Palm Beach and Hillsborough counties clearly indicates that this variant can spread like wildfire among school-aged children and that mitigation efforts MUST be undertaken.

The reality on the ground in Florida’s communities is COVID is spreading quickly, particularly among younger people. The ideological inflexibility of Governor DeSantis and the bullying he and his surrogates have subjected those of us concerned about public health to, have emboldened those wanting to push mitigation efforts.

DeSantis authoritarian overreach where he feels he can dictate to local governments and private business what they can and cannot regulate within their own domains is being beaten back as Florida records record COVID-19 related cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the last week.

What’s clear is DeSantis’ tone isn’t serving to persuade anyone in public office, and those who were sitting on the fence have begun to break toward the idea of greater mitigation and safety efforts in the last week which is a positive development for all Floridians.

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