WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Florida Education Association (FEA) announced a lawsuit over Florida's Emergency Order to reopen schools. The order, announced by the State Department of Education, calls for public schools in Florida to open for face-to-face instruction, five days per week.
Lawyers for the FEA say the emergency order is unconstitutional, since it ignores the fact that schools are high-contact settings where the virus can potentially spread with ease. Lawyers say the decision needs to be locally driven, and believe that local districts know what is best for their individual areas.
The FEA is now seeking an injunction to stop the order.
"I don’t want this state government to play Russian Roulette with your child," Fredrick Ingram, the President of FEA said in a virtual press conference Monday.
Ingram said that teachers across the state want to get back to school and understand that online learning is not a perfect alternative, but says that the one-size fits all approach to learning in person will not work for all families across the state, and is not a safe plan amid rising coronavirus cases.
"Give us some time and give us the funding that we need to ensure health and safety for everybody," Ingram said.
The State Commissioner of Education, Richard Corcoran, Governor Ron DeSantis, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez are all named in the lawsuit.
As of now, Miami-Dade county schools are planning to stay online if the area is still in Phase 1 when school begins, but in a press conference announcing the lawsuit, speakers said they named Gimenez in the suit for not taking a leadership position and speaking out against the order.
Three teachers were named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, including one with a compromised immune system, one who has a child with a compromised immune system, and another who is currently suffering from COVID-19.
The NAACP has also joined onto the lawsuit.
The union also filed a petition, calling on Governor DeSantis to roll back the order, which currently has over 20,000 signatures.