The Threats Aren’t Working: More School Districts Defy GOP Guvs’ Orders Against Mask Requirements

August 18, 2021

GOP-controlled states are taking a carrot-and-stick approach in the face of school districts and local authorities defying Republican governors’ ban on mask mandates.

Over with the stick, Florida Board of Education voted yesterday to investigate two counties that’ve implemented mask mandates despite Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) ban. Tom Grady, the chair of the board, hinted that funding for school districts in those counties may be withheld, even though earlier this week DeSantis’ office softened its stance on pulling funds from schools, suggesting that officials implementing the mask mandates should opt to dock their own salaries.

Meanwhile, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) is offering a carrot to schools that haven’t issued a mask mandate by announcing he’d grant them $163 million in funding from the federal COVID-19 relief package Congress passed earlier this year for playing along.

It’s the crux of the latest culture war we’re seeing play out in courts and school board meeting rooms in at least eight states across the U.S. Earlier this week, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) issued a ban on school mask mandates, joining Florida, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Iowa, and Utah as states that have all prohibited school districts from requiring students and school staff to wear masks.

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