From Staff, Wire Reports, and The Center Square
Judge John Cooper of Florida's Second Circuit Court in Leon County ruled that the state overstepped its authority in restricting school districts from enacting mask mandates after parents sued officials amid a surge in coronavirus infections.
Cooper sided with parents from six Florida counties including Orange County who challenged Gov. Ron DeSantis and state education officials, stating that the order infringes on classroom safety guaranteed by the state’s Constitution.
Cooper ordered that the state cannot require districts to offer voluntary mandates over “the preservation of general welfare,” comparing the masking issue to the difference between the right to drink alcohol and the criminality of drunken driving.
“We don’t have a right to go into a crowded theater and yell fire because we decided it’s our right to do that,” he said.
In a 35-page complaint filed August 6th, the parents maintain DeSantis’ June 30 executive order allowing parents to ignore mask mandates and penalizing offending school districts the equivalence of school board and administrator salaries violate districts’ authority under the state constitution, deny due process, and are “arbitrary and capricious,”
DeSantis said Florida will “obviously” appeal any ruling that dilutes House Bill 1059, the ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights Act,’ adopted by lawmakers during their 2021 session. HB 1059 requires districts and agencies to cede to parents in decisions regarding their children.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more details are known.
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