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Gov. DeSantis has awkward exchange at First Lady’s event

Local News

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis was in Tampa Thursday to talk about her new campaign, “Hope for Healing Florida.”

The campaign is focusing on distributing resources to help those struggling with mental health and substance abuse in the state of Florida. 

When the floor was opened up for questions, Karen Perez, a Hillsborough County public school board member, tried to bring up the issue of school funds being used toward mental health help within Florida’s public schools. 

As Perez was talking to the First Lady, she was interrupted by Governor DeSantis as he continued to ask her ask a question. 

“You’re not part of the media. What’s your question?” he asked. 

DeSatis was at Roland Park Magnet School with children in the room when the exchange took place.

According to Perez, the mental health crisis lies within our schools.

“They want to use ‘hope?’ Our children are our hope,” said Perez. “We have to address the state of their mental health today. If not, we are going to have a serious situation in our future.”

Perez believes the focus should be on funding for mental health in schools, and was trying to ask about school funding when the governor interrupted.

She argues children spend most of their day in school, and she believes that’s where the biggest need for mental health help today is.

“I don’t think they see the severity we see with our children in our schools,” said Perez. 

The First Lady did answer, saying she would work with the agencies assigned to the new campaign to see where funding is being spent currently before deciding to make any changes. 

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