TALLAHASSEE — As requested by the Florida Education Association (FEA), Circuit Judge Charles Dodson today lifted the automatic stay on his order granting a temporary injunction against Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s emergency order. School districts are free to make decisions as to whether to open or close schools based on safety considerations and without the threat of lost funding.
“Once again, the state has been turned back in its attempts to bully our districts,” said FEA President Fedrick Ingram. “The judge clearly saw through the state’s arguments in his order today, but we have no doubt the efforts to silence educators and push a political agenda over safety will continue. We will continue to fight to protect the health and wellbeing of everyone in our schools, and to ensure that districts are free to make the best decisions for their communities when it comes to opening and keeping open physical classrooms and schools while the virus remains a threat.”
In the order to vacate the automatic stay, Circuit Judge Dodson writes:
“Defendants’ response, in summary, drastically misstates what the temporary injunction order did and did not do. It did not order that Florida’s schools statewide be closed. This Court does not have authority to enter such an order. What the order did, for the reasons stated, is require that local school districts be given authority under their individual circumstances to open or close the local schools, based on local conditions.”
The FEA is concerned over reports that information regarding Covid-19 infections and exposures in our schools is being suppressed by the governor’s administration, and concerned educators, parents and school districts are being silenced.
While the DeSantis administration has urged a “surgical” approach to controlling the coronavirus in Florida’s public schools, it appears we may be seeing more of a political magic trick to make the virus “disappear.”
For instance, Duval County Public Schools recently was ordered to stop publishing information about Covid-19 exposures and cases in schools. Previously, county health departments reportedly were under orders to restrain what they told districts in relation to the pandemic, and to provide information but not recommendations.
For anyone interested, the FEA is collecting information about Covid-19 in schools.
Recent hearings in Florida Education Association et al v. Ron DeSantis, as Governor of the State of Florida et al, case number 2020-CA-001450, were held in the Second Judicial Circuit, Leon County, before Circuit Judge Dodson. The case was initially filed in response to executive order 2020-EO-06. FEA maintains the order is counter to Florida’s Constitution, which mandates that Floridians have a right to “safe” and “secure” public schools.
CONTACT: Joni Branch, firstname.lastname@example.org, (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.