TALLAHASSEE — Thanks to the ruling today by Circuit Court Judge Charles Dodson, Florida’s educators will be heard. The Florida Education Association (FEA) lawsuit against the state’s attempt to strong-arm public school districts will move forward next week, with expedited mediation set for Tuesday and hearings on Wednesday and Thursday for FEA’s motion for temporary injunctive relief against Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s Emergency Order.
“We appreciate that Judge Dodson sees the value in our fight to keep the state from forcing districts to reopen physical campuses no matter how unsafe that might be,” said FEA President Fedrick Ingram. “School districts should be able to make local decisions on reopening without the threat of punishment through lost funding. School boards should not have to choose between money and lives so that a governor can score political points.
“Gov. DeSantis and the commissioner have delayed and denied on this case, but no more. We are grateful to go forward. Time is of the essence for Florida’s students and school employees.”
Today, the state’s motion to dismiss was denied. On Tuesday, the state will be forced to listen to educators in court-ordered mediation. The governor and commissioner will have to face head-on the situation under which our districts are being pushed to physically reopen:
- Coronavirus positivity rates and case counts remain high in Florida overall, as does the daily number of deaths.
- The 14-day average positivity rate is 14.1% for children under 18. No school district has a positivity rate under 5% for kids. Eight counties have rates over 20% for children.
- In the three weeks since FEA’s lawsuit was filed, 13,238 children under the age of 18 have been diagnosed with Covid-19, 245 were hospitalized, and two kids passed away.
- Martin County, the most populous Florida county to reopen so far, was forced to quarantine a class and a school busload of kids after they were exposed to the virus.
- Other states rushing to reopen, such as Georgia, have run headlong into problems with the virus that necessitate closing classrooms and quarantining students and staff.
- Evidence continues to mount that children 10 and older spread coronavirus as well as adults, raising the possibility of super-spreader events in our schools.
Florida’s educators want to be back in our schools, but those schools must be safe and secure. We look forward to pressing our case next week in mediation and, if needed, in open court on Wednesday and Thursday.
Florida Education Association et al v. Ron DeSantis, as Governor of the State of Florida et al is in the Second Judicial Circuit, Leon County. The court case number is 2020-CA-001450.
CONTACT: Joni Branch, email@example.com, (850) 201-3223
The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with 150,000 members. FEA represents PreK-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational staff professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.