Florida’s largest teacher union sued Gov. Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran over their order requiring schools to reopen next month, Politico reports.
The Florida Education Association filed a lawsuit in Miami on Monday seeking to overturn the emergency order, which requires schools to be open five days per week.
The lawsuit argues that the policy overruled local leaders and defied the national coronavirus guidelines.
Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers, said DeSantis is in “intense denial” over the state’s coronavirus spike.
“I don’t know if it's Trump that’s whispering into his ear, I don’t know if it’s Betsy DeVos — I don’t know who it is,” she said.
DeSantis tries to distance himself:
The governor tried to distance himself from the order, arguing that it was not his idea.
“I didn’t give any executive order, that was the Department of Education,” DeSantis told reporters on Monday.
But DeSantis said that certain students would benefit from returning to in-person learning and said he believes most counties can reopen their schools.
“We don’t want folks to fall behind,” he said. “And we really, really want to focus on the best interest of our students and giving parents the maximum amount of choices to be able to make the best decision they can.”
State pushes back:
The Department of Education argued that the FEA “hasn’t read nor understands” the emergency order.
The order does not have a new requirement for schools to open but rather reiterates a state policy requiring campuses to remain open 180 days a year, spokesperson Taryn Fenske told Politico. The order created new funding to encourage schools to reopen.
"The FEA frequently states that schools are underfunded, and if this frivolous, reckless lawsuit, succeeds it will eliminate these funding guarantees — completely contradicting their normal outcry," Fenske said.