Aug 27, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Why Florida Gov. DeSantis removed 4 elected school officials

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, speaks during a 'Keep Florida Free' rally.
Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, speaks during a rally. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended four elected school board officials Friday following the release of a report on the 2018 Parkland school shooting.

Why it matters: It's rare for elected officials to be forcibly removed from their positions. DeSantis already replaced an elected official from office this month.

Catch up quick: A grand jury found Broward County school board members acted "with negligence and incompetence" when they implemented safety measures in the county's schools, per the Washington Post.

  • The grand jury said in its investigation report, which was released last week, that the Broward school board officials failed to use an $800 million bond to help provide safety upgrades to schools in the county.
  • The jury — which launched the investigation after the Parkland shooting in 2018 — recommended the officials be replaced.

Driving the news: DeSantis removed the elected school board officials "due to their incompetence, neglect of duty and misuse of authority," the governor said in a statement.

  • The governor then appointed four new people to their positions.
  • DeSantis' office did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

What they're saying: “It is my duty to suspend people from office when there is clear evidence of incompetence, neglect of duty, misfeasance or malfeasance,” DeSantis said in a statement. “We are grateful to the members of the jury who have dedicated countless hours to this mission and we hope this suspension brings the Parkland community another step towards justice.”

The big picture: DeSantis suspended Andrew Warren, a Democratic official who said his office would not prosecute cases tied to abortion or anti-transgender laws, Axios Tampa Bay previously reported.

  • “State Attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda,” DeSantis said in a statement at the beginning of August.
  • DeSantis said the governor can remove elected officials for "misfeasance, malfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, or commission of a felony."
  • Warren sued DeSantis over his removal, saying the governor did not identify any conduct that should lead to a suspension, Axios' Erin Doherty reports.

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