Parents of Florida schoolchildren largely back Governor Ron DeSantis‘s policy to allow them to opt their students out of mask mandates imposed by local school districts. A Florida Atlantic University poll has found that 51 percent support the governor’s policy, while just 40 percent oppose and 9 percent are unsure.
The poll’s findings support the notion that most Floridians largely subscribe to the idea that private entities, be they parents or business owners, should have the freedom to make their own decisions about vaccinations and mask mandates. For example, a majority of respondents also support the right of business owners, including restaurants, to require employees to be vaccinated.
The poll, conducted August 12-16, surveyed 500 people using cell phones and landline phones, and comes amid growing defiance of the governor’s executive order by school districts. Yesterday, Miami-Dade and Hillsborough County Schools both voted to require masks without an opt-out provision. Those votes came after the State Board of Education announced it would target any school districts that did not allow parents to opt their students out of a mask mandate.
The majority support for DeSantis’s policy allowing parents to make the masking decisions rather than school officials comes in large part from the 66 percent of parents who agree with the CDC’s recommendation that school children should be masked.
“Governor DeSantis trusts that parents know what’s best for their own children. It’s not the government’s place to dictate families’ decisions when it comes to their kids,” said Christina Pushaw, a DeSantis spokeswoman. “That’s why the legislature passed the parents’ bill of rights, and Governor DeSantis signed it. He will continue to defend parents’ rights in accordance with Florida law. This is common sense, so it’s not surprising that the majority of Floridians agree.”
The poll also found that just under 80 percent of those surveyed have already been vaccinated, and 85 percent of those with school children between 6-11 years old would want their child vaccinated if the FDA approved a vaccine for children.
The full results of the survey can be viewed here.