New Mexico Governor Threatens To Suspend School Board For Refusing Mask Mandate

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham threatened to remove a school board if they refuse to change their vote regarding COVID-19-related mandates by Tuesday, according to The Daily Wire.

The Floyd Municipal School Board voted against mask mandates, social distancing regulations and body temperature checks July 26 to make COVID-19 protocols an individual choice for students, parents and teachers, The Daily Wire reported. The board received a letter from the state Public Education Department (PED) the following day with threats to remove each member from their position unless they “rescind” their original vote in an organized, public meeting.

“As you are aware, the actions above are inconsistent with the requirements put forward by the Public Education Department, in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and/or guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, to protect the health and safety of staff and students, and to ensure continued access to in-person learning that is not disrupted by the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” the letter said, according to the outlet.

The state’s COVID-Safe Practices states that all youth programs in New Mexico require masking and that businesses provide six feet of distance between individuals. Last Monday, the New Mexico Public Education Department ordered that all elementary school students, teachers, and school administrators are to wear masks, the Rio Rancher Observer reported.

“A failure by the board to provide written confirmation of a vote rescinding the offending course of action and/or adopting a course of action that conforms to the published health and safety requirements by noon on Tuesday, August 3, 2021, or any further violations of COVID-Safe Practices, could result in adverse licensure actions against licensed individuals, suspension of school board governance, and other applicable enforcement actions,” the letter continued.

“Any punitive actions by the board against the Superintendent, other administrators, or school or district staff for following COVID-Safe Practices may result in immediate suspension of school board governance,” the letter concluded. (RELATED: DeSantis: ‘Kids Do Not Need To Be Wearing These Masks’ For The Fall School Semester) 

The board is scheduled to hold a meeting Monday evening to discuss the PED’s threats and cast a vote to keep the current policies in place or follow state guidelines, according to the Daily Wire. Leon Nall, a member of the board, told the outlet that school administrators are “fed up” with Lujan Grisham’s mandates.

“Every school I’ve talked to supports me,” Nall said. “It’s the most important board meeting of Floyd schools.”

The town of Floyd is a small, rural town located in eastern New Mexico, according to the Daily Wire. The school district educates nearly 225 K-12 students, some being from surrounding towns.

Seven states, including Arkansas, Texas and Utah, banned mask mandates in schools prior to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation to enforce mask mandates for all students and school administrators regardless of vaccination status.