Judge says DeSantis overstepped authority in banning school mask mandates

Mask debates
Posted at 4:59 PM, Sep 02, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Judge John Cooper issued his written order in the Florida school mask lawsuit trial.

He wrote that Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education has been “ordered not to violate the Parents’ Bill of Rights by taking action to effect a blanket ban on face mask mandates by local school boards.”

The written order formalizes Cooper’s findings from Fridaywhen he ruled that Gov. DeSantis and the Department of Education exceeded their authority in banning local school districts from requiring students to wear masks in schools.

"I find that the defendants have not proven sufficient authority for the Executive Order, their anti-mask policy and the enforcement actions," Judge Cooper wrote.

He continued, "The law of Florida does not permit the defendants to punish school boards, its members, or officials for adopting face mask mandates with no parental opt-outs if the school boards have been denied their due process rights under the Parent's Bill of Rights to show this policy is reasonable and meets the requirements of the statute.

"Therefore, the Parent's Bill of Rights permits local school boards to enact policies related to health care and education, including mask mandates," wrote Judge Cooper.

The state is expected to appeal.

The court ruled in favor of the defendants on Count 1 and Count 2.

The court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on Counts 3 and 4.

Pertaining to the separation of powers, the court said no person belonging to one branch of government shall exercise powers over appertaining to the other two branches.

Because the governor ended the State of Emergency in June 2021, he did not have the power to enforce a blanket ban of mask mandates.

DeSantis Mask Case Order by Charles R. Gallagher III