Saturday, August 7, 2021

FL: Bullying By Mask

 Florida (state motto: Death to public education!) has been leaping to capitalize on the current COVID disaster, as witnessed by this extremely on-point headline: 

Florida Will Pay for Parents to Move Kids Into New Schools if They Experience ‘COVID-19 Harassment’

That's a very apt way to characterize a voucher program--the state will pay you to pull your kid out of public schools. 

You may have been wondering how Florida made the leap to a voucher for covid harassment, but the fact is, they were already halfway there. Florida already has the Hope Scholarship, a voucher program that allows students to get a voucher if they allege bullying. Note that under this program, the state will pay you to leave your school based on the allegation alone--there doesn't need to be proof that it actually happened or that the school failed to remedy the situation. 

So all that this new policy really did was just expand Florida's definition of bullying to include “any threatening, discriminatory, insulting, or dehumanizing verbal, written or physical conduct an individual student suffers in relation to, or as a result of, school districts protocols for COVID-19, including masking requirement, the separation or isolation of students, or COVID-19 testing requirements.” So, basically, anything at all having to do with the pandemic.

Of course, private schools are not subject to Ron DeSantis's mandate that public schools may not have a mask mandate, and so some private schools are going ahead and mandating masks (and some are waffling and, supposedly on Twitter, legislators are offering to find masked schools for parents who are searching). But then, some private schools in Florida are maintaining their right to bully and discriminate against LGBTQ students. So once the state pays you to pull your kid out of public school, you may or may not be able to find a more agreeable option (and you may or may not have enough money to do it, as vouchers don't necessarily cover costs). 

This may all seem kind of hypocritical or nonsensical, but you just have to remember--all education policy in Florida is aimed at getting kids out of public schools and into private, profitable schools. Everything else can be tweaked to meet that single policy goal.

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