Press Releases

Rep. Frankel Statement on State Threats to Local School Board Over Mask Mandates

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Washington, October 5, 2021 | comments

West Palm Beach, FL – Today, Representative Lois Frankel (FL-21) released the following statement, after state education officials scheduled a hearing to determine whether schools in Palm Beach County, and eight additional counties, violated State Department of Health rules by implementing mask mandates for students. School board members stand to lose portions of their salaries depending on the outcome of the hearing.

“Governor DeSantis has put politics ahead of the health and safety of Floridians since the start of the pandemic, and now it’s our students here in Palm Beach County that are in the crosshairs. Our school board members are doing their best to keep our children—many of whom are too young to be vaccinated—safe from COVID-19. Threatening to withhold school board members’ salaries for doing their job is shameful,” said Rep. Frankel. “The good news is that the Biden Administration recently announced a new federal grant program to support school districts being unfairly punished by state governments for implementing commonsense safety measures, and some Florida districts have already received this funding. I encourage other school boards, including my own, to make sure they have applied for these Project SAFE grants as soon as possible, so we can make sure all our kids are healthy and safe, regardless of the Governor’s threats. I will work with the Biden Administration to push back on any additional penalties inflicted by Governor DeSantis.”

The Biden Administration recently announced the start of the Project SAFE Grants program, which is designed to assist school districts facing retribution for instituting mask mandates or other measures to protect students and teachers. School districts that have adopted policies following CDC guidance to prevent the spread of COVD-19 and have incurred a financial penalty from the state for the implementation of these policies can apply here.

Meanwhile, Florida continues to be the only state that has yet to apply for American Rescue Plan funding for public education, effectively leaving over $2 billion dollars on the table. The state is now also threatening to further punish school districts who have received grant funding from the federal government while taking no action to protect the health and safety of students.

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Tags: Education