US

Court sides with DeSantis, reinstates school mask mandate ban

Florida‘s First District Court of Appeals reinstated the state’s ban on mask mandates in schools on Friday after Governor Ron DeSantis filed an emergency appeal hours after a judge ruled against his executive order for the second time.

‘No surprise here – the 1st DCA has restored the right of parents to make the best decisions for their children,’ De Santis wrote on Twitter after the reinstatement. ‘I will continue to fight for parents’ rights.’ 

The ruling is the latest in the legal battle between DeSantis and school districts defying his order after a significant, statewide surge of COVID-19 cases.

‘No surprise here – the 1st DCA has restored the right of parents to make the best decisions for their children,’ De Santis wrote on Twitter after the reinstatement. ‘I will continue to fight for parents’ rights,’ he then added

DeSantis filed the motion around 7.30 p.m. Wednesday, on the heels of Leon County Judge John Cooper‘s second ruling siding with parents who filed a lawsuit against the governor’s mask ban on August 26.  

It’s also DeSantis second instance appealing Cooper’s decision amid a back-and-forth war over school mask mandates that seems to be nowhere near its end.  

The judge’s decision on Wednesday momentarily lifted the ban and revoked DeSantis’s order to withhold funding from two school districts that defied the ban and have continued to enforce mask use.  

Now the ban is back in force after the appeals court ruled in favor of DeSantis.

Florida's First District Court of Appeals reinstated the state's ban on mask mandates in schools on Friday after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis filed an emergency appeal when a Leon County circuit judge initially blocked the order

Florida’s First District Court of Appeals reinstated the state’s ban on mask mandates in schools on Friday after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis filed an emergency appeal when a Leon County circuit judge initially blocked the order 

The ruling is the latest development in an ongoing saga between the state and several local school districts as some Florida schools are fighting for legal mask mandates after a significant, statewide surge of COVID-19 cases. Pictured are masked students in Florida last month

The ruling is the latest development in an ongoing saga between the state and several local school districts as some Florida schools are fighting for legal mask mandates after a significant, statewide surge of COVID-19 cases. Pictured are masked students in Florida last month

DeSantis’s lawyers, along with Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the Florida Department of Education and the State Board of Education had accused Cooper of overstepping his powers as a judge, citing that the state should be the one in charge of COVID-19 restrictions. 

‘The adequate level of safety in schools and other public settings is a political question reserved entirely for elected representatives who are publicly accountable,’ 

‘Therefore, in finding irreparable harm, the trial court should not have substituted its own health policy preferences or risk assessments for those of the governor or, more importantly, the state health officer and surgeon general,’ the motion read.

The court’s decree means the state can now go after schools financially if they decide to impose mask mandates.

A spokesperson for DeSantis, Christina Pushaw, praised the decision on Twitter.

‘1st District Court of Appeals just granted the State of Florida’s request to reinstate the stay – meaning, the rule requiring ALL Florida school districts to protect parents’ rights to make choices about masking kids is BACK in effect!’ Pushaw proudly declared Friday. 

'1st District Court of Appeals just granted the State of Florida's request to reinstate the stay - meaning, the rule requiring ALL Florida school districts to protect parents' rights to make choices about masking kids is BACK in effect!' DeSantis' spokesperson Christina Pushaw proudly declared Friday after the governor's motion went through

‘1st District Court of Appeals just granted the State of Florida’s request to reinstate the stay – meaning, the rule requiring ALL Florida school districts to protect parents’ rights to make choices about masking kids is BACK in effect!’ DeSantis’ spokesperson Christina Pushaw proudly declared Friday after the governor’s motion went through

The  ruling comes despite objections from concerned parents who fear DeSantis’ policy could cause ‘irreparable harm’ to their children amid an unprecedented rise of COVID-19 cases in the Sunshine State. 

Cooper ruled last month ruled that the state could not penalize districts that impose strict mask mandates, as long as the schools can prove that the policy is ‘reasonable’ and necessary to achieve a ‘compelling state interest.’

DeSantis appealed Cooper’s decision, and Friday, the state court agreed to overturn Cooper’s ruling and side with the governor.

‘Upon our review of the trial court’s final judgment and the operative pleadings, we have serious doubts about standing, jurisdiction, and other threshold matters,’ the state’s motion reads, in response to Cooper’s initial ruling.  

Charles Gallagher, the lead attorney for the group of parents suing the state over its mask mandate, said of the new ruling: ‘We are disappointed by the ruling and will be seeking pass-through jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Florida. With a stay in place, students, parents and teachers are back in harm’s way.’

DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran have been embroiled in a bitter courtroom battle with parents over the state’s erratic mask orders, as a multitude of districts have imposed mandates amid the state’s worst COVID-19 outbreak yet.

Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper  has been locked in a legal battle with DeSantis over school mask mandates

Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper  has been locked in a legal battle with DeSantis over school mask mandates 

President Joe Biden 's administration announced yesterday the creation of a new grant designed specifically to cover any fines or withholding of funds that school districts face because of their mask rules. Republicans nationwide tore into Biden on Thursday after he announced he'd use an emergency order to force businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or weekly COVID testing

President Joe Biden ‘s administration announced yesterday the creation of a new grant designed specifically to cover any fines or withholding of funds that school districts face because of their mask rules. Republicans nationwide tore into Biden on Thursday after he announced he’d use an emergency order to force businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or weekly COVID testing

Thirteen of Florida’s 67 school districts currently have mask requirements. 

In contrast, the state has begun to withhold funds equivalent to monthly salaries of school board members in Alachua and Broward counties, and have begun looking in for other counties that are not playing ball. 

This all comes the day after President Joe Biden‘s administration announcing the creation of a new grant designed specifically to cover any fines or withholding of funds that school districts face because of their mask rules.

Republicans nationwide tore into Biden on Thursday after he announced he’d use an emergency order to force businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or weekly COVID testing.

‘Forcing this and coercing people, I don’t think is the right decision. I’d imagine that you’re gonna see a lot of activity in the courts if they try to do that through an executive action,’ DeSantis said during a press conference Thursday.

comes amid the state’s worst coronavirus outbreak since the start of the pandemic, driven largely by the spread of the Indian delta variant. 

As of the last week in August, 705 new cases were being reported per 100,000 people in Florida, and the state was averaging 244 deaths from the virus per day, according to the CDC.

More than 46,000 residents of the Sunshine State have died from the virus, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. 

In a positive sign that Florida’s surge might be subsiding, though, hospitalizations from Covid-19 have dropped over the past two weeks from more than 17,000 to 14,200 on Friday. 

Overall, about 53.5 percent of Florida’s total population has been vaccinated. 

Additionally, nationwide, the country continues to see a surge in coronavirus cases with a seven-day moving average of 153,000 new cases over the past week, a 4.9 percent increase over the previous week.  

Despite this surge of cases, DeSantis recently also placed ban on vaccine passports, which will go into effect on September 16.

Businesses that ask for proof of vaccination may be fined up to $5,000.


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