Mildred Russell, who was appointed to the vacant District 2 seat on the Alachua County School Board by Governor Ron DeSantis, was sworn in today in a ceremony at Bo Diddley Plaza. Given that the Alachua County School Board has implemented a mask mandate with no parental opt-out, in violation of Florida Department of Health and Department of Education rules, the oath is noteworthy: “I, Mildred Russell, do solemnly swear that I will support, protect, and defend the constitution and government of the United States and the constitution and government of the State of Florida, that I am duly qualified to hold office under the constitution of the State of Florida, that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of School Board Member, on which I am now about to enter, so help me God.”
In brief remarks, Russell said she was “so excited to serve the families, the children, the parents of our community on the School Board. I am ready to launch into ways of serving the needs of our community, so I hope you will all support all the School Board Members as we tackle the issues that are before us. I appreciate the community’s support, and I appreciate all of you being here. Feel free to contact me any time.”
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The Special School Board meeting following the ceremony had only one agenda item: a resolution to authorize “the Superintendent to retain the services of outside counsel to challenge Florida Department of Health Rule 64DER21-12, Florida Department of Education Emergency Rules, in protecting the interests of Alachua County Public Schools students and staff, by any legal means necessary.” The resolution passed 4-1, with Russell in dissent.