Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Almost no one is taking advantage of Florida's 'COVID-19 bullying' private school grants

Posted By on Thu, Sep 23, 2021 at 10:11 AM

click to enlarge ADOBE
  • Adobe

More than a month into the school year, fewer than 100 students have received school vouchers that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration backed as a way for children to escape what the state labeled “COVID-19 harassment.”

As of Monday, 90 students had been awarded “COVID-related” Hope Scholarship vouchers, according to Step Up for Students, a nonprofit organization that helps administer the Hope Scholarship program. A spokesman for the organization told The News Service of Florida that only two students had used the vouchers to enroll in a private school.




The State Board of Education approved an emergency rule on Aug. 6, days before the start of the academic year in most of Florida, that was triggered by DeSantis’ July 30 executive order aimed at preventing school districts from requiring students to wear masks. The emergency rule expanded the state’s Hope Scholarship program to allow parents who object to masks or other coronavirus safety measures to send their children to other public or private schools.


The Hope Scholarship program was originally intended to help bullied students change schools. Step Up for Students has received 263 voucher applications that cited reasons related to COVID-19. Of those applications, 127 were incomplete, 42 were conditionally eligible and four were pending processing.



Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you Central Florida news, and every little bit helps.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 13, 2021

View more issues

Calendar

© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation