For Florida school boards, criticism gets personal as issues intensify

Concerns mount that increased hostility, including attacks on family members, will scare away candidates who might otherwise serve.
By: | September 21, 2021

The job of school board member has come under intense scrutiny in recent months, as boards have confronted some of the nation’s hottest issues in ways that directly and immediately affect children and families. The topics have included masks, race relations and transgender student rights, and people have gotten angry.

The resulting fights, which occasionally have become physical, have prompted calls from higher-level politicians such as Gov. Ron DeSantis to focus on controlling the local boards to implement preferred policies. Republicans in the state House and Senate have filed legislation to convert the non-partisan board seats into partisan positions.

Political action committees have begun popping up to back candidates. And the efforts haven’t always remained focused on the issues.

Florida School Boards Association executive director Andrea Messina worries that, as board members see their families get pulled into the picture, some people who would otherwise be drawn to public service might turn way.

Read more at the Tampa Bay Times.