Florida Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book and her Caucus leadership team today announced their intention to launch a GoFundMe campaign to support public education leaders if Governor DeSantis follows through with threats to withhold their salaries as punishment for requiring masks in schools.
“If the Governor chooses to defund public education and withhold salaries from educators as punishment for protecting students’ health and safety, we will fill the gap to support them in this fight,” says Leader Book, who began her career as a kindergarten teacher.
“Masks work, and locally elected leaders have a right to apply CDC guidance to keep kids safe at school. We stand with school leaders across the state who refuse to let our children become political pawns in the Governor’s partisan game,” says Senator Janet Cruz, Fiscal Policy Chair for the Democratic Caucus.
On Monday, Leader Book, Senator Cruz, and fellow members of the Senate Democratic Caucus leadership team Senator Lori Berman, Senator Jason Pizzo, and Senator Bobby Powell sent a letter to Florida’s 67 School Superintendents and School Boards across the State urging them to buck political pressure from the Governor and instead follow the guidance of public health officials.
“We understand that public schools, school districts, and school boards are facing unprecedented pressure to bow to the wishes of a Governor and administration adamantly opposed to any measure that might be perceived as counter to future political ambitions,” they wrote. “But we believe in and support local rule – and we know your commitment to our children is your highest priority. Their future must always come first.”
According to reports, more Florida children have been hospitalized with Covid than in any other state, with the sharpest increase over the past month occurring in children under the age of 12. With the vast majority of Florida students unable to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and with the Delta variant appearing to be more dangerous to children than other previous strains of Covid-19, Leader Book and her team applauded districts including Lee County, Broward County, Duval County, Hillsborough County, Leon County, Palm Beach County and Seminole County for adopting mask policies on school campuses to protect students and staff from the threat of Covid-19.