Florida judge overturns Gov. Ron DeSantis' mask mandate ban in public schools

In a closely watched ruling on Friday, Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper blocked the executive order of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis that barred public schools from instituting mask mandates.

Ironically, it was the much-touted law passed by DeSantis and Florida Republicans creating a "parents' bill of rights" that poked holes in their authority to institute a mask mandate ban.

The text of that law grants school districts the right to a process where they can prove their actions are reasonable to anyone who might object. Given the lack of due process and what Cooper sees as reasonable evidence in favor of masking to stop the spread of coronavirus, he sided with plaintiffs seeking to bring down the blanket ban.

“It doesn’t ban mask mandates at all," Cooper said of the state's case citing the newly created parental rights. "It doesn’t require an opt-out at all.”

"The defendants do not have authority, under this law, to a blanket mandatory ban against a facemask policy that does not provide a parental opt-out," Cooper continued. "This statute does not support a statewide order or any action interfering with the constitutionally provided authority of local school districts."

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