The Florida Board of Education has unanimously voted to approve a measure that will pay for students to move to new schools if they experience “COVID-19 harassment.”
Parents of students in districts that have strict COVID rules can now apply for a Hope scholarship to transfer kids to another school of their choice.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that “specifically, a parent can apply for a voucher in ‘instances where a child has been subjected to COVID-19 harassment will provide parents another means to protect the health and education of their child by moving their child to another school.’”
The Board of Education’s measure defines COVID-19 harassment as “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.”
The rule also notes that “unnecessarily isolating, quarantining, or subjecting children to physical COVID-19 constraints in schools poses a threat to developmental upbringing and should not occur absent a heightened showing of an actual illness or serious risk of illness to other students.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also recently signed a bill banning mask mandates in schools.
It directs the state’s “department of education and department of health to issue emergency rules protecting the rights of parents to make this decision about wearing masks for their children. We think that that’s the most fair way to do it,” said DeSantis.