Florida is trying to oust an elected school superintendent who publicly criticized DeSantis

Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisAnna Moneymaker/Getty Images
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  • The Florida Department of Education is investigating an elected superintendent who is a fierce critic of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

  • Superintendent Rocky Hanna says he is being targeted for expressing his "political beliefs."

  • Hanna has criticized the governor's education policies and has encouraged teachers to ignore political pressure.

Florida is threatening to remove an elected school superintendent who has been critical of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna publicly criticized DeSantis for the governor's ban on mask mandates at schools during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

And at the beginning of the fall semester, Hanna sent an email to school staff telling them to ignore political pressure in the state and "continue to teach the standards just as you have always done."

Now Hanna may be facing retribution.

The state education department gave Hanna an ultimatum in early April to either attend a hearing or risk being fined, put on probation, or even having his teaching license revoked, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

In a letter to Hanna, Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. said the department had cause to "justify sanctions against your Florida educator certificate," according to the outlet.

Hanna told The Daily Beast that he believes the state's investigation stems from a letter sent by a Moms for Liberty leader to DeSantis last year.

Moms for Liberty is a conservative parent group that originated in Florida and advocates for the removal of books from classrooms it deems inappropriate and has worked to get members elected to school board positions.

The letter the group sent to DeSantis complained about the email Hanna sent to school staff at the beginning of the school year. The letter was penned by Brandi Andrews, the vice chair of the Leon County chapter of Moms for Liberty, and was stamped with "Let's Go Brandon" at the bottom, a phrase used by conservatives as an insult to President Joe Biden.

"How this is being handled and the tactics the Florida Department of Education is using to create this 'investigation,' are certainly a serious cause for concern not just for myself, but for any superintendent or school employee in the state of Florida," Hanna told The Daily Beast.

Hanna and the Leon County School District did not immediately return Insider's request for comment on Sunday.

According to The Daily Beast, Diaz said the education department's justification for sanctions against Hanna was that his email could cause teachers to express "their own individual political and religious views on students and teachers failing to teach with fidelity the Florida standards."

Leon County is also where in March the school board forced a principal to resign after parents complained that sixth graders were shown photos of Michelangelo's David.

The DeSantis administration has also retaliated against Disney for criticizing the governor's so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill, which he signed into law last March. It prevents teachers from holding classroom discussions about sexual orientation or gender identity.

Read the original article on Business Insider