Judge again rules against DeSantis, blocks ban on mask mandates in Florida schools

Case moves to appeals court

ORLANDO, Fla. – A judge on Wednesday again ruled against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ mask policy for students, setting aside a stay to his initial ruling and allowing school districts to enact mask mandates as the case moves forward on appeal.

Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper ruled last month that DeSantis did not have the authority to stop school districts from enforcing mask mandates.

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DeSantis appealed the ruling, which placed an automatic stay on the judge’s decision, allowing the state to continue to penalize school districts for requiring masks.

On Wednesday, however, Cooper lifted the stay, meaning his original ruling stands.

DeSantis wants parents, not school districts, to determine whether their children should wear masks in school.

The issue at hand is whether the freshly minted Parents Bill of Rights law means parents have sole authority to decide if their child wears a mask or permits a school board to impose a broad mask requirement.

The governor’s office responded shortly after Cooper made his ruling.

“No surprise here that Judge Cooper concluded that he is unlikely to be overruled on appeal. We (unsurprisingly) disagree. Today, we plan to file our emergency motion to reinstate the stay, and we anticipate the appellate court will rule quickly, much like during the school re-opening case last year,” a statement from Communications Director Taryn Fenske said.

The case will now head to the 15 judges on the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee and could ultimately wind up in the state Supreme Court.

About the Author:

Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on ClickOrlando.com, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.