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‘McCarthyism’: DeSantis Criticized for Targeting School Superintendent Who Criticized Him – Could Lose License and Job



A Florida county schools superintendent targeted by Ron DeSantis could lose his job and even his teaching license over his criticism of the Republican governor, after the head of a radical parents group who appeared in a political advertisement with DeSantis asked the governor to fire him.

Supporters of the superintendent are speaking out, accusing DeSantis of “1950s McCarthyism” and “retaliatory bullying.”

The issue echoes Governor DeSantis’ attacks on entertainment giant Disney, who DeSantis has repeatedly targeted for exercising its constitutional rights. Disney sued DeSantis in a First Amendment lawsuit this week.

Florida Department of Education Commissioner Manny Díaz, Jr., an anti-vaxxer who last year ordered schools to ignore the Biden administration’s guidance on LGBTQ students, sent a letter to Leon County Superintendent of Schools Rocky Hanna notifying him the state is moving forward.

The letter claims the DOE has probable cause to “justify sanctions against your Florida educator certificate,” the Tallahassee Democrat reports. The DOE claims it has been investigating if Hanna’s “personal views” have had an impact on how he runs the district.

READ MORE: Disney’s Damning Lawsuit: ‘Targeted Campaign of Government Retaliation—Orchestrated at Every Step by Gov. DeSantis’

“Hanna has been a vocal critic of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his administration on social media, in the press and at school board meetings since the governor banned mask mandates in schools during COVID-19. Hanna says that’s made him a target for political retribution,” the newspaper adds.

The Associated Press notes if Díaz has Hanna’s license revoked DeSantis could automatically fire him.

“The Republican Governor did that last year to an elected Democratic prosecutor in the Tampa Bay area who disagreed with his positions limiting abortion and medical care for transgender teens and indicated he might not enforce new laws in those areas.”

According to reports, Hanna wrote a letter to DeSantis asking for flexibility on the governor’s ban of mask mandates during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, after a third grade student in his district died of COVID-19.  And in response to DeSantis’ anti-LGBTQ “Don’t Say Gay” law, Hanna in a memo told teachers and staff, “You do you,” meaning to continue to  support LGBTQ students.

Brandi Andrews, the vice chair of the local Leon County extremist group Moms for Liberty, wrote DeSantis to ask him to fire Hanna, the Associated Press reports.

“We are fighting tirelessly with our local school board to no avail,” Andrews wrote, “citing Hanna’s mask mandate, his opposition to the state’s new education laws and directives and his public criticism of the governor. She noted that she had appeared in a DeSantis reelection TV commercial.”

READ MORE: Viral Video: DeSantis in Jerusalem Explodes Over Questions About His Alleged Role in Gitmo Force Feeding

“Her letter was stamped ‘Let’s Go Brandon,’ a code used by some conservatives to replace a vulgar chant made against President Joe Biden.”

Florida Politics publisher Peter Schorsch posted a copy of Hanna’s email to his staff informing them DeSantis’ and Diaz’s attack is moving forward.

Supporters of Superintendent Hanna are speaking out against the targeted attack.

“We can’t duck and cover when someone faces an ideologically-motivated attack. Based on my reading of the situation, @LeonSchools Superintendent Rocky Hanna acted with integrity and in accordance with the values of the majority of Leon County’s voters,” tweeted Leon County commissioner Rick Minor. “These types of ‘investigations’ evoke the worst excesses of 1950s McCarthyism. We can disagree about policy, but none of us should accept this type of retaliatory bullying from our state government. It’s undemocratic. The State of Florida can – and must – do better.”

“Rocky Hanna is a well respected superintendent that stood up for his community,” tweeted Carlee Simon, Ph.D., a former Florida county schools superintendent and the founder of the Gainesville-based Families Deserve Inclusive Schools. “The kangaroo court of DOE and BOE in Florida is shameful.”

READ MORE: ‘Assault on Freedom’: Critics Blast DeSantis for Expanding ‘Don’t Say Gay’ to All Grades After Vowing It Would Be Limited

Democratic former Florida state Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, who is running for state Senate, responded to an article about Hanna:

“The Disney debacle has really exposed how far Ron DeSantis is willing to go to silence critics of his extreme agenda,” he tweeted. “In Florida, you have the ‘freedom’ to agree with the Governor…and those who don’t face serious threats, retaliation, and persecution.”

Read Hanna’s email above or at this link.

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