State Board of Education orders 2 Florida school districts to drop mask mandates

The State Board of Education on Friday issued the Alachua and Broward County school districts with an order demanding that they comply with Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order barring mask mandates in schools. 

"School board members of districts have willingly and knowingly violated the rights of parents by denying them the option to make health care decisions for their children – a blatant violation of the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which Governor DeSantis signed into law on June 29, 2021," the release sent to FOX 35 News states. "The Florida Department of Education has provided each district with numerous opportunities to correct their behavior in an attempt to find an amicable resolution to no avail."

"It is important to remember that this issue is about ensuring local school board members, elected politicians, follow the law. These public officials have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida. We cannot have government officials pick and choose what laws they want to follow," said Commissioner of Education Corcoran. "This is simply unacceptable behavior."

RELATED: 4 of Florida's 5 largest school districts defy DeSantis' executive order, mandate masks

In July, Gov. DeSantis issued and signed an executive order to "allow for a parent or legal guardian of the student to opt-out the student from wearing a face covering or mask." 

The board is giving both districts 48 hours to comply.

"If they continue to fail or refuse to comply with the law, they are ordered to provide the Commissioner of Education with information confirming the current annual compensation provided to all school board members within 48 hours."

The Florida Department of Education says it will then begin to withhold from state funds, on a monthly basis, "an amount equal to 1/12 of the total annual compensation of the school board members who voted to impose the unlawful mask mandates until each district demonstrates compliance."

This is a developing story. Check back for details.