Florida Teachers Union Wins Lawsuit
The Florida Education Association fought back after Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran ordered schools to reopen classrooms by Aug. 31 or risk losing funding. And now, a Florida judge has sided with the teachers.
Leon County Judge Charles Dodson ruled that a statewide mandate that local school officials resume in-person instruction this month amid the coronavirus pandemic was unconstitutional. The judge said that the state “prioritized reopening schools statewide in August over safety and the advice of health experts.”. Therefore, local districts will now have the power to decide whether its schools should be physically open or operate in a fully virtual model. The official ruling went on:
“The Court finds Plaintiffs have met their burden. The Order is unconstitutional to the extent it arbitrarily disregards safety, denies local school boards decision making with respect to reopening brick and mortar schools, and conditions funding on an approved reopening plan with a start date in August. The Order will, however, pass constitutional muster if its unconstitutional portions are severed. And it would still require local school districts to provide a high-quality education, under the circumstances – the circumstances being this horrible pandemic.”
The state immediately appealed the ruling with Corcoran responding with following statement:
“We’ve said it all along, and we will say it one million times – we are 100% confident we will win this lawsuit. This fight has been, and will continue to be, about giving every parent, every teacher and every student a choice, regardless of what educational option they choose. If you are one of the 1.6 million students who have chosen to return to the classroom, a parent, or a classroom teacher that wanted to educate their student in person, we strongly encourage you to call the Florida Education Association and tell them to drop this frivolous lawsuit.”