Gov. Ron DeSantis responds to “masks in schools” mandate debate

Panama City

PANAMA CITY Fla. (WMBB) — Governor Ron DeSantis visited Panama City Wednesday and had some choice words for the Biden administration and its handling of the covid epidemic.

Much of it centered on the “masks in schools” mandate debate. Governor DeSantis said masks in Florida schools are not a consideration. 

“He wants to have the government force kindergarteners to wear masks in schools,” DeSantis said. “He doesn’t believe that parents should have a say in that, he thinks that should be a decision by the government. Well, I can tell you in Florida the parents are going to be the ones in charge of that decision.”

DeSantis’ remarks got a big reaction from the crowd of local politicians and business owners.

He went on to attack the Biden administration’s response to the newest COVID-19 surge.

“Joe Biden suggests that if you don’t do lockdown policies then you should ‘get out of the way,’ but let me tell you this,” DeSantis said. “If you are coming after the rights of parents in Florida I’m standing in your way.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis announces $58 million for Hurricane Michael recovery

DeSantis said restricting people would be ruining their livelihoods and denying kids an in-person education would be unfair. 

Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt said he sees the concerns from all sides but feels returning the kids to the classroom is the best option at this time. 

“I do understand this,” Husfelt said. “Our children are better off and safer in schools than they are at home. The studies we’ve seen have proved that.”

Husfelt’s friend and local physician Dr. Frank Merritt disagreed. Citing the fact that Florida has broken records for the number of daily cases just in the past week.

“I’m for delaying school by two weeks,” Merritt said. “There’s no need to add any kerosene or gas to the fire.”

 Governor DeSantis said he will not let the federal government “get away” with locking the country back down, and he will stick to that.

“I can tell you Florida we are a free state,” DeSantis said. “People are going to be free to choose to make their own decisions.”

The governor said he has the same opinion when it comes to lockdowns and requiring people to get the vaccine. 

He said it should be up to parents to decide if their kids wear masks, and he will continue to fight the federal government on this issue. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Local News Video

Red tide resurgence in South Walton and Bay County

City of Springfield approves new millage rate

Some Jackson County roads are getting a touch-up

Florida Gov. DeSantis talks school curriculum in Niceville

Over one dozen Walton students suspended after "devious licks" challenge

Walton Sheriff is "over it" seeing social media misinformation

More Local News

Don't Miss