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Ron DeSantis Backs Off Threat to Punish Local School Boards With Awkward Admission

Ron DeSantis Backs Off Threat to Punish Local School Boards With Awkward Admission
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The state of Florida has recently seen all time records for new cases of the virus that's killed over 600 thousand Americans, while also maintaining one of the highest hospitalization rates in the nation.

Democrats largely blame Florida's Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis, whose reckless policies have only exacerbated the spread of the virus.

DeSantis opened Florida early last year and recently barred even private businesses from requiring vaccines of their employees and customers, but it's DeSantis' ban on schools requiring masks that's most recently outraged Americans across the country.

The Delta variant of the virus has proven to be more contagious and more deadly that the original strain. While vaccines have saved the lives of millions of adults and teenagers, children 12 and under are still ineligible to get the vaccine. Masks are proven to reduce the spread of the virus.

But as parents send their children off to in-person learning in the epicenter of the virus, DeSantis has forbid school boards from requiring masks. Recently, some superintendents vowed to defy the Governor and enforce mask wearing anyway.

DeSantis responded by threatening to withhold their paychecks. When the White House signaled it might be able to pay the superintendents through federal funds, DeSantis vowed to "vociferously fight against" the effort.

Now, DeSantis is backing down. According to the Miami Herald the Governor's office is now admitting that it doesn't have the power to slash the pay of school board officials.

In a statement to Politico, DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw said:

"The entire school district community shouldn't suffer just because a few activist, anti-science school board members want to impose overreaching mandates on every student. Those officials should own their decision — and that means owning the consequences of their decisions rather than demanding students, teachers, and school staff to foot the bill for their potential grandstanding."

Florida Agriculture Commissioner—and a Democratic opponent of DeSantis in the Florida gubernatorial race—hailed the news.

It was yet another embarrassing blunder for DeSantis.

The mockery was unrelenting.

In the past 24 hours alone, four Florida educators have died of the virus.