Sarasota became the first Republican school district in Florida to impose a mask mandate for students, Politico reports.
The board in the school district of 43,000 voted 3-2 Friday to impose the rule after hours of debate, including angry comments from parents and residents who opposed the mandate. Miami-Dade, Broward, Alachua and other locales have implemented similar rules.
“My fear is that if we do not do this, if we do not put some teeth into this, do not stand up for this and our right to make that decision, we will be making the wrong decision,” board member Jane Goodwin said.
It did not come without internal opposition, though. Superintendent Brennan Asplen supported an opt-out option, while board member Bridget Ziegler worried about breaking with Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“I’m highly concerned that we would be adopting something that many on this board have recognized is against the law,” Ziegler, who is also the wife of the Florida GOP’s vice chair, said.
On Friday, state officials issued 48-hour final notices to Broward and Alachua counties to scrap their mask mandates or risk financial penalties.