Letter: UF Health doctors’ emails show their belief that parents are a threat, contributions show they hope to retain their influence

Dear Editor,

Last week, I sent a Letter to the Editor about UF/UF Health’s influence over the Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS) Scientific Medical Advisory Board (SMAC) and documented how the school board, school district employees, and SMAC violated Florida Sunshine laws, which guarantee public scrutiny for advisory committees. I found more public records that I think the public has a right to know about, and this is an addendum to the original letter.

These public records indicate that high-profile doctors in our community wanted to make sure parents who dared disagree with them were intimidated by an increased security presence at school board meetings; there was also at least one ethics violation that came to light.

On Aug 2, 2021, at 9:11 p.m., Dr. Adrienne Mott-Young of UF Health wrote to Dr. Carlee Simon (ACPS Superintendent at the time); Dr. Desmond Schatz, UF Professor and Interim Chair of Pediatrics; Amit Rawal with HCA Florida North Florida Regional Hospital; and Casey Hamilton, ACPS District Security Chief:

I was just informed that the proud boys attended a board meeting in Palm Beach and tried to
intimidate people and made a lot of noise. Are there any reinforcements or security measures in place for the board meeting tomorrow just in case?


Then-Superintendent Carlee Simon replied back almost immediately:

Date : 8/2/2021 9:19:41 PM
From : “Carlee Simon”
To : “Mott-Young,Adrienne H”
Cc : “Schatz,Desmond A” , “Amit Rawal” , “Casey Hamilton”
Subject : Re: Concern for tomorrow
We will be at the county building with ASO at the doors. We will alert our team to our needs. Casey will help with strategies and suggestions.

Dr. Desmond Schatz made sure to write back with his encouragement to have increased security at school board meetings to protect the doctors from parents and said it showed real leadership:

On Aug 2, 2021, at 9:24 p.m., Dr. Desmond Schatz wrote:

I just saw your email. Kudos. I will mention that in my address.
That’s real leadership. You listen.

UF employees have strict guidelines when they serve in Outside Activities roles. When any employee uses a UFL email and represents the university, UF policy states: “University Employees’ primary professional obligation is to act in the best interest of the University and to maintain the highest ethical and professional standards. A University Employee’s Outside Activities or interests must not conflict, or appear to conflict, with their professional obligations to the University of Florida.”

By August 7, 2021, the State and the University had explicit policies against forced masking, evidenced by the governor’s executive order to ban their forced use in schools, a Florida Department of Health emergency rule safeguarding parental rights, and State University System guidance that led to masks being “expected” but not required on UF campus.

On August 17, Dr. Adrienne Mott-Young improperly used her UFL email to ask nearly every pediatrician in town (more than 75 pediatricians and practices received the email) to show up to support UF doctors who were encouraging the school board to violate the governor’s executive order. This email from Dr. Mott-Young’s UFL account was an informal intimidation tactic, signaling that these doctors should fall in line with her views on masking children in school.

Subject: School board meeting tonight  

Hello everyone,

The next school board meeting is tonight at 6 PM to discuss extending the mask mandate.  Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at 6 p.m.  The school board was extremely receptive to the medical providers at the last meeting and implored us to return tomorrow night. For all that are available, we would love to have you with us.  The location is the Alachua County Administration building ( 12 SE 1st St, Gainesville, Fl 32601), tentatively 6-8, but the previous meeting did go beyond this time. > > Here is a link to the agenda: > http://go.boarddocs.com/fl/alaco/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=C5CNS8611944

 Thanks again for all your support!!!
 Adrienne Mott-Young
[Emphasis added]

The ethical breach was pointed out by Tim Marden in a message to all the recipients of the original email:

From: Tim  

Sent: Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Subject: When facts don’t matter

Good morning,

Dr. Adrienne Mott-Young has solicited you through UF email this morning at 8:19am, to come to the School Board meeting tonight. This is a questionable solicitation coming through a public University email system.

When Mott-Young’s email (which may have violated Sunshine Laws, as the topic was related to SMAC business and there were other members of SMAC on the list) was leaked to the community, it seemed to upset those who sent it to only rally those who wanted to force masks on children, against the executive order. It’s clear that Dr. Desmond Schatz was only concerned that the leaked email had provided time to organize “counter” demonstrations, and he demanded that the district increase security.

On Aug 17, 2021, at 11:54 AM, Schatz,Desmond A

I just heard a counter demonstration is being planned. Will need security.

Desmond Schatz MD
Professor and Interim Chair of Pediatrics
Medical Director, Diabetes Institute
University of Florida College of Medicine

Mott-Young quickly admitted she was wrong to use her UFL email but was primarily concerned with increasing school security:

On Tue, Aug 17, 2021 at 12:32 PM Mott-Young, Adrienne H wrote:
Sorry, I didn’t realize I shouldn’t have used UF email to inform colleagues of the
meeting. I truly didn’t even think about it. Thanks for the feedback. Will keep it
in mind for the future.
How concerned should we be for tonight, security-wise?

There have been major ethical violations from the University of Florida, UF Health, and ACPS, who worked together to conspire against citizens in this district. These same doctors, and others who spoke for UF Health at school board meetings, are now financially donating to the campaign of District 5 school board candidate Prescott Cowles. Here are the details of their political donations to his campaign:

May 31: Dr. Desmond Schatz – $108
May 31: Dr. Michael Lauzardo – $100
June 3: Dr. Adrienne Mott-Young – $100
June 14: Dr. Kathleen Ryan – $300

These doctors worked with Cowles in his role as the COVID Response Coordinator at ACPS during this time period. These donations give the appearance of financially rewarding the person who coordinated secret meetings that violated Florida Sunshine laws and advocated for the district to violate Florida Department of Health and Florida Department of Education policies on masking and parental rights. This gives the impression that the doctors of UF/UF Health plan to continue their overreach with Cowles as a trusted school board member, resuming their reign over our community. 

Stefanie Stanton, Gainesville

The opinions expressed by letter or opinion writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AlachuaChronicle.com. Letters may be submitted to info@alachuachronicle.com and are published at the discretion of the editor.

  • Outstanding report of a continuing pattern of deceit, lies and manipulation of our system. When will the University take control of their Doctors in this situation.
    Simon’s indifference to following the laws of our State has been documented. Let’s not forget some members of our School Board and Simon’s specially selected 26 year old Covid Response leader Prescott Cowes!

  • Great expose of the deceit and coverup and outright decisions to thumb their noses at State law! What a great bunch of role models for the students in ACPS! Parents need to get out and vote as there are at least 3 political activists running for ACPS School Board and one sitting in a district seat not up for election; no interest in creating an exceptional learning environment for each student (as they proclaim), rather using them to further personal agendas!

  • a vote for Prescott Cowles is a vote for Dr. Kathleen Ryan is a vote for Lethal Vaxxines

  • For 30 years I provided speech-language therapy to thousands of students in the public and private schools. Masking myself and students would have interfered with students’ progress and is contra-indicated. Even children with mild hearing impairments benefit from facial cues as they watch the speaker’s face (impossible when the speaker is masked.)

  • Dr. Desmond Schatz, a neighbor and good citizen, used common sense in his emailings. I see nothing nefarious in it. In tough times, requesting police protection is a right. As a medical professional, he believes in the wearing of masks to prevent covid and has every right to not only believe it, but to act upon his beliefs.

    • The problem was he was utilizing his position to impose his beliefs on others.

      Your opinion of your “good” neighbor is purely subjective and based upon your experience and knowledge and therefore should not be interpreted to reflect the opinions of others who know him.

  • Cowles’ only qualification was kowtowing to Dr. Simon and the combined political agenda they shared with certain board members.

  • Very good reporting of corruption that plagues the county government. Thank you for your work and time.

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