Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sides with stalkers as federal government reviews threats against school officials and teachers

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  • photo courtesy of the Governor’s Press Office

Gov. Ron DeSantis signaled on Tuesday that Florida will fight a federal effort to deal with a spike in threats against educators.

DeSantis responded on Twitter to a decision Monday by United States Attorney General Merrick Garland ordering the FBI to work with local officials to help deal with a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence. Against educators and school board members on controversial issues such as masking mandates and teaching “critical race theory.”

“Attorney General Garland is arming the DOJ (Department of Justice) using the FBI to prosecute concerned parents and silence them through bullying,” DeSantis tweeted Tuesday. “Florida will defend the free speech rights of its citizens and will not allow federal agents to suppress dissent. ”

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Garland’s directive to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and federal prosecutors calls for strategy sessions within the next 30 days to produce action to address the “increase in criminal conduct against the school staff “.

“While lively debate on policy issues is protected by our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views,” Garland wrote. “Threats against public officials are not only illegal, they go against the fundamental values ​​of our country. Those who devote their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their jobs without fear for their safety.

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The National School Boards Association, which represents school board members, recently asked President Joe Biden to help investigate threats against educators, attributing the increase to mask warrants intended to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The association has reported cases of bullying, threats and harassment in states such as Florida, California, Georgia, New Jersey and Ohio.

DeSantis issued an executive order in July to prevent Florida school districts from forcing students to wear masks during the pandemic and supported efforts to block the teaching of “critical race theory,” which is based on on the premise that racism is ingrained in American society and institutional.

A flash point for Republicans nationwide, the controversial theory is not taught in Florida public schools. However, in June, the State Board of Education approved a rule setting guidelines for how American history can be taught.

State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat running for governor in 2022, tweeted Tuesday that Garland “uses law and order to protect children, parents and teachers from crime” .

“Florida will continue to be embarrassed by Governor DeSantis and his disregard for the law and the safety of our children,” Fried added in the tweet.

DeSantis’ tweet received support from the Florida Republican Party.

“The governor @RonDeSantisFL will always be on the side of parents and the right to freedom of expression. Bullying families is not the American way, ”the party said on Twitter.


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