DeSantis Torches Crist’s Running Mate for Allegedly Standing by Teacher who Sexually Abused Students: ‘That is Disgraceful!’

By Lydia Nusbaum, Florida's Voice

August 30, 2022 Updated 11:58 AM ET

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at a
Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at a "Unite & Win Rally" at Arizona Financial Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona (Gage Skidmore).

FORT PIERCE (FLV) – Gov. Ron DeSantis slammed Charlie Crist’s running mate, Karla Hernandez-Mats, and claimed the teachers union she led “protected” a middle school teacher who was arrested for sexually abusing students.

“You come to see that they had one of their top henchmen in the union down in Miami, who was a middle school teacher, he was sexually abusing middle school students for years and years,” DeSantis said. “And everybody knew this was going on.”

Karla Hernandez-Mats has served as the President of United Teachers of Dade since 2016 and was elected as UTD’s treasurer in 2013. Miami-Dade Schools Police arrested Wendell Nibbs in 2017 on charges that he sexually assaulted two students. The Miami Herald reports that Nibbs “rose into the teachers union’s inner circle.”

“And her union protected him knowing that he represented a threat to those students in middle school classrooms. And he abused and he abused and abused,” DeSantis said. “And he finally got caught and he’s finally in prison but they cared more about the power of their union than they did about the best interests of these kids. That is disgraceful.”

Source: Miami Herald

The former teacher pled guilty in 2020 to three counts of sexual activity with a child. One alleged victim told another student she began having sex with Nibbs in his classroom when she was 15 years old, according to an arrest warrant.

“You do not put union politics ahead of middle school students who are in danger of being sexually abused,” DeSantis said. “I think that’s disqualifying to be in any political office, much less Lieutenant Governor of the state of Florida.”

The Miami Herald reporter questioned the teachers union about Nibbs.

“Through a spokeswoman, UTD President Karla Hernandez-Mats said that if employees are hired by the school system, they are deemed to be qualified and safe to be in an school environment, ‘as far as UTD and other district employees are concerned,'” the article reported.

Florida’s Voice reached out to Charlie Crist’s campaign for a response.

The governor also criticized Hernandez-Mats and the teachers union’s stance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Worked tooth and nail to lock the kids out of school in 2020,” he said. “They opposed everything we did in the state of Florida to give kids an opportunity and to put parents and families first.”

Hernandez-Mats called it “premature” for Miami-Dade Schools to open in September of 2020.

“Trump’s rush to reopen schools and threats to defund our children are 100% political games,” part of her statement said. “We are simply demanding safety, in order to preserve public health and not lose more lives.”

In another September 2020 tweet, Hernandez-Mats called the Florida Education Commissioner ignorant for wanting schools to reopen in Miami-Dade.

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Florida’s Voice is a patriotic news network that you can trust to deliver the truth with no hidden agenda. Founder and Editor in Chief Brendon Leslie left his job in mainstream news to practice journalism as it should be, unbiased and unbossed.

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