Florida judge orders immediate lifting of DeSantis ban on school mask mandates

Florida judge orders immediate lifting of DeSantis ban on school mask mandates

A judge ruled Wednesday that Florida must immediately stop enforcing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on school mask mandates, refusing to issue a stay while the state appeals his decision.

Florida judge orders immediate lifting of DeSantis ban on school mask mandates

Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper argued that the state had failed to show that an appeal would succeed and that it was necessary to delay his order to avoid irreparable harm.

The state is challenging the ruling before the state’s First District Court of Appeal.

“We are not in normal times. We are in a pandemic. We have children who cannot be protected by vaccination,” Cooper said in court, according to NBC Miami. “Children are at risk and provide at least some protection to the masking.”

The governor’s office disagrees with Cooper’s assessment that the appeal will likely fail, Taryn Fenske, the governor’s communications director, said in an emailed statement.

“Today we plan to file our emergency motion to reinstate the suspension, and we anticipate the appellate court will rule quickly, just as it did during the school reopening case last year,” Fenske said.

Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the vaccination of children under the age of 12.

DeSantis issued an executive order banning mask mandates in schools and threatened consequences for districts that defy the order.

In August, the Florida Board of Education voted to sanction public school districts in Alachua and Broward counties for imposing mask mandates.

Cooper ruled last month that school districts have the right to set policies, like mask mandates, as long as they have “compelling state interest” and have a “narrowly tailored” plan of action.

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