DeSantis-Supported School Boards Begin Giving Educators the Boot

ron desantis at podium

DeSantis-supported school board officials in Florida have begun firing teachers in some of the state’s public schools.

Sarasota Superintendent Brennan Asplen faces termination vote

Credit: Sarasota Herald-Tribune

The midterm elections are over, but the fallout from campaigning hangs on as conservative school board candidates who received backing from Governor Ron DeSantis have begun removing some schools’ leaders who oversaw the enforcement of policies to support the rights of parents, an issue tackled by Florida’s controversial Parental Rights in Education bill, signed into law in March 2022 (also referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, though no part of the law says “don’t say gay”) and an issue affected by some Florida schools’ imposed mask mandates in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the month of November, three superintendents were purged, whether directly or indirectly, from their respective school districts, each of which has ties to Governor DeSantis. In just one week’s time, two of those three superintendents left their posts.

While DeSantis excites crowds on stage, he's avoiding the gladhanding that  wins over donors | CNN Politics

Credit: CNN

In Brevard County and Sarasota County, school leaders were faced with pressure from newly-installed, “GOP-leaning” board members. The superintendent in each county left voluntarily–or quasi-voluntarily–as the only other option was for each to be at the center of a vote on their respective terminations. In Broward County, the superintendent of schools was fired, thanks to the efforts of five school board members appointed by DeSantis.

“We had a wave in school districts that spit in parents’ faces,” said state Rep. Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay), who fought to punish schools that forced mask mandates. “And now the people who did that are gone.”

After all was said and done, all three superintendents were gone–in Brevard, Sarasota, and Broward Counties, and each of the educators served in a district where student mask mandates had been implemented, despite the governor’s warnings against them.
florida counties map
In March, Florida passed House bill 1557, the Parental Rights in Education bill, which states that “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur,” and it is specific to classrooms in grades Kindergarten through third only. But teachers can address students’ questions regarding these topics, and students are not prohibited from speaking about these topics.
What Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill actually says

Credit: NBC News

When Governor DeSantis signed the bill into law earlier this year, Disney immediately made a public statement, saying the bill should have never been passed and that the company would support efforts to see it repealed, after which Florida passed a different law to dissolve all special tax districts in the state that were incepted after 1967. This includes Disney’s Reedy Creek District, which will be dissolved, unless further legal action blocks the law, next summer.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!