Florida files motion to toss out school mask lawsuit

Miami-Dade School Board votes to require masks on students when classes begin
Miami-Dade School Board votes to require masks on students when classes begin

LEON COUNTY, Fla. – The battle over whether Florida schools can mandate masks among students will go back to the courtroom — this time over whether a lawsuit has any grounds to even exist.

Attorneys for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are working to toss out a case altogether, filing a motion to dismiss the argument on Monday.

The state’s motion alleges the lawsuit could prompt judicial interference which goes against Florida’s government make-up and separation of powers. Attorneys argue the judge should also dismiss the case because parents don’t have a strong enough argument and provide no real solution, alleging they did not go through the decision-making process Florida’s leaders have.

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“Florida’s Governor and Legislature have determined that it is in the best interests of the State to empower Florida parents with the right to manage the healthcare of their children. This includes the freedom to choose whether they must be masked in public schools,” the motion reads.

DeSantis “does not have the authority to threaten school districts with loss of funding if they protect their students with disabilities health and rights to be in an integrated learning environment,” according to the lawsuit.

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However, lawyers representing the state say Florida’s leaders have made a calculated decision, taking several factors into consideration.

“The Governor and Surgeon General carefully balanced the legitimate state interests of school safety, educational well-being, and parental rights,” attorneys wrote in the motion. “Despite their lack of standing, Plaintiffs ask this Court to override the complex balancing of several competing interests — as well as carefully reviewed determinations — that have already been thoroughly assess by the two branches of government in which this authority exclusively lies.”

The motion also says the lawsuit holds political interest explaining whether an education policy provides for “safe and secure” schools amid a pandemic is a political question. Moreover, plaintiffs can’t prove an injury stemmed from the governor’s executive order and even if they could the court wouldn’t be able to prevent or fix it.

Ultimately, the motion said this argument is between school districts and DeSantis — not parents, per the Florida Constitution. Attorneys say with little to no proof the order is hurting anyone the case is moot. They add the plaintiffs have little authority in how Florida’s government structure should run and are even overstepping with the lawsuit.

That will be for a judge to decide.

The next hearing will be held virtually on Thursday afternoon. The judge will determine if the case will move forward.

Read the motion to dismiss: