Florida’s Ban on School Mask Mandates Reinstated
Florida’s Ban on School Mask Mandates Reinstated

By Zachary Stieber

Gov. Ron DeSantis’s ban on school mask mandates is back in effect after an appeals court ruled in favor of the governor on Friday.

The First District Court of Appeals, a state court, agreed to grant an emergency motion filed by the DeSantis administration late Wednesday.

The appeal was filed hours after Circuit Judge John Cooper blocked the school mask mandate ban.

Cooper told the court before the ruling that because children under the age of 12 are unable to be vaccinated, a danger exists and other mitigations such as masking should be considered by school boards.

But appeals court judges said Friday they had “serious doubts” about the stay that Cooper vacated, citing concerns about standing, jurisdiction, and other threshold matters.

“These doubts significantly militate against the likelihood of the appellees’ ultimate success in this appeal. Given the presumption against vacating the automatic stay, the stay should have been left in place pending appellate review. Accordingly, we grant the appellants’ motion, quash the trial court’s order vacating the automatic stay, and reinstate the stay,” the judges wrote in the order.

Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary, celebrated the decision.

“The rule requiring ALL Florida school districts to protect parents’ rights to make choices about masking kids is BACK in effect!” she wrote on social media.

Students, some wearing protective masks, arrive for the first day of school at Sessums Elementary School in Riverview, Fla., on Aug. 10, 2021. (Chris O’Meara/AP Photo)

A group of parents filed the lawsuit last month on behalf of their children.

Charles Gallagher, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told The Epoch Times via email that “we are disappointed by the ruling of the 1st DCA that reinstates the stay and will be seeking pass through jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Florida since this matter involves statewide issues.”

“With a stay in place, students, parents and teachers are back in harm’s way,” he added.

Jannis Falkenstern contributed to this report.

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