Brevard County

DeSantis pushes back against federal effort to combat threats against school officials, staff

TITUSVILLE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke out against the U.S. Justice Department’s efforts to combat threats against school board members, teachers and other employees in the nation’s public schools in a news conference in Titusville on Wednesday.

“We’re going to fight to preserve the rights of parents,” DeSantis said.

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DeSantis said the direction of the Department of Justice to mobilize the FBI to investigate parents who are speaking out against mask mandates is an infringement on First Amendment rights.

He said the state will protect parents’ rights to vocalize their concerns.

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“We’re not going to be cooperating with any federal investigation into parents,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said local law enforcement are able to handle any issues that do arrive and don’t need federal investigators to intervene.

DeSantis was joined by Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo and Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey.

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In a memorandum published earlier this month, Attorney General Merrick Garland said there has been “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools.”

To address the rising problem, Garland said the FBI would work with U.S. attorneys and federal, state, local, territorial and tribal authorities in each district to develop strategies against the threats.

Stay tuned to Channel 9 Eyewitness News for updates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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