September 22, 2021

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Court of Appeal: DeSantis can continue to withhold salaries of school board members for compulsory masks – Roce Today

The mask requirement ban – issued by the Florida Department of Health in August after DeSantis ordered it to “protect the freedom of parents to choose whether their children wear masks” – was suspended Wednesday by a judge in Tallahassee. Judge John C. Cooper had ruled that the state could not continue to punish school districts that require masks while the appeals court works for a final ruling.

Friday’s order cancels Cooper, giving the Florida Board of Education the green light to continue withholding the salaries of school council members in districts that require face shields for students. The state imposed this punishment on two districts and announced investigations into several others.

“Just like last year in the school reopening litigation, the First District Court of Appeals restored Florida’s ability to protect parents’ freedom to make the best decisions for their children while they rule on the appeal.” , Taryn Fenske, communications director for DeSantis, said in a statement to ABC News. “We look forward to winning the appeal and will continue to fight for parental rights.”

DeSantis tweeted: “No surprise here: The first DCA restored the right of parents to make the best decisions for their children. I will continue to fight for parental rights.”

Alachua County, one of the districts where the salaries of school board members are held for imposing a warrant, said in a statement that, despite Friday’s ruling, it “will continue to impose universal masking in our schools.”

“The decision is disappointing, but we understood early on that the legal battle over faceplates in schools would take time and not all decisions would be favorable,” Alachua County Public School Superintendent Carlee said in a statement. Simon.

“Even though Alachua County public schools are not part of this particular cause, we definitely support it,” continued Simon. “We are delighted that the plaintiffs intend to continue their fight. In the meantime, our legal challenges have just begun and we support the other Florida districts and families who are taking the state to court over this issue. “

At least 13 school districts, including the six largest in Florida, have implemented mask mandates.

“At the time of our review of the court’s final ruling and operational briefs, we have serious doubts about the location, jurisdiction and other threshold issues,” the order said on Friday. “These doubts militate significantly against the likelihood of the respondents’ eventual success in this appeal.”

A lawyer representing the parents who sued the state said Friday’s decision would make students less safe.

“We are disappointed with the DCA 1st ruling restoring the stay and will be looking to go through the jurisdiction of the Florida Supreme Court as this matter involves statewide issues. With a stay in place, students, parents and teachers are back in danger “, Charles Gallagher, one of the lawyers representing the group of parents who sued the state for a ban on sending masks, he wrote on Twitter.

The Department of the United States Department said Friday night that it had opened a civil rights investigation in Florida.

The Office of Civil Rights “is concerned that Florida policy that requires public schools and school districts to allow parents to waive the mandates of masks for their children may prevent Florida schools from complying with their legal obligations. not to discriminate on the basis of disability and to provide equal educational opportunities for students with disabilities who are at high risk of serious COVID-19 diseases “.

Florida joins Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah under federal control.