Brevard school board to discuss face mask policy at emergency meeting

Monday’s meeting comes as Florida judge overturned DeSantis’ ban on school mask mandates

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The Brevard County School Board will hold an emergency meeting Monday morning to discuss its face mask policy, a spokesman announced via email Saturday.

This meeting comes on the heels of a Tallahassee circuit court judge Friday overturning Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on school mask mandates.

The meeting, which will be held at 2700 Judge Fran Jamieson Way in Viera, will open to the public at 9:15 a.m. According to News 6 partner Florida Today, those in attendance can sign up to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting, said Russell Bruhn, a Brevard Public Schools spokesman.

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The meeting will also be broadcast on the BPS cable channel and over YouTube.

Michelle Barrineau said she plans to be at that 10 a.m. Brevard County emergency school board meeting and express her concerns about why she believes the school board should vote yes to requiring masks for all students and staff, with only a medical opt out option.

“The way we’re going now is not sustainable and something has to change,” Barrineau said. “We want to nip this in the bud as soon as we can. We’re all tired of this.”

Barrineau is part of the Families for Safe Schools organization, which advocates for Brevard school mask mandates. She said she wants her 11-year-old daughter and all kids to be safe.

“She’s in a minority of kids who are in masks, and she comes home from school and she’s worried everyday,” Barrineau said.

The school board currently has no face mask policy in place. On Aug. 10, the board voted 3-2 against a mask requirement -- including a policy that would allow an opt-out for parents. Board members Jennifer Jenkins and Cheryl McDougall voted in support of the policy and School Board Chair Misty Belford, Matt Susin and member Katye Campbell voted against it.

Jenkins had joined Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Friend and Brevard parents, teachers and health workers at a roundtable discussion Friday when the news of Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper’s ruling came. She sent an email draft she had already prepared on her phone to fellow board members and district personnel requesting an emergency meeting to discuss mask mandates.

Jenkins has requested the emergency meeting at least five times now, but has never secured support from the majority of the board.

And while the Brevard county school board could vote on a mask mandate Monday, Orange County was the only Central Florida school district that defied the DeSantis ban on masks.

And while some parents agree with the judge’s decision, other parents weren’t so happy.

“Disappointed, I feel like our rights are getting taken away,” said Orange county parent Denise Fosher. “We’re all doing the best that we can for our kids and it doesn’t make one person right over the next.”

DeSantis is expected to appeal the judge’s decision on school mask mandates.

About the Authors:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.