Proposal to allow students to use bullying scholarship to transfer schools due to mask policy passes – WFTV
TALLAHASSEE, Fla .– A proposal to change a scholarship program established to help bullied students in school was approved on Friday to allow students to transfer schools or enroll in a private school, according to mask requirements or other COVID-19 rules.
The Florida Board of Education held an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss changes to the Hope scholarship program. The Hope Scholarship was created by the Florida legislature in 2017 to provide money so that bullied students can enroll in a private school or be transferred to another school.
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Under the approved change, parents would be allowed to move a student to another school, including a private school, based on mask rules, meaning parents could move if a school chooses not to mask or if a school chooses to impose masks.
“Provides parents with a mechanism to transfer a child to a private school or other school district as part of a Hope Scholarship when a school district’s COVID-19 health protocols, including masking, pose a danger to their child’s health or education, ”the Department of Education wrote in the Florida Administrative Register.
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“Sanitary protocols for schools, including masking, will be dealt with by the Ministry of Health. The agency finds that the potential for loss of student learning and disruption of education with schools from next week creates an immediate danger to the public health, safety and well-being of students and requires emergency measures. “
The meeting came just days after Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order denying school boards the power to implement mask warrants on school grounds.
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“This scholarship was designed to help students who are bullied in school,” said Sen. Vic Torres (D – Orlando). “There were 393 kids in this program last year, so now you’re trying to figure out if there will be enough money. “
The scholarship is paid by individuals who choose to divert up to $ 105 of their state tax on the purchase of motor vehicles in the program. In 2019-2020, there were 436 children in the program. In the last school year (2020-21), 452 children were in scholarship, including 37 in Orange County, 23 in Seminole, 20 in Volusia, 22 in Marion and 17 in Lake.