Florida Attorney General Joins Fight over Mask Mandates

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Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) has entered into the fight against rogue school districts defying state law related to mask mandates. She voiced her opinion after a court decision earlier this week indicated Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ mask mandate ban was unconstitutional and unenforceable.

DeSantis said the state will quickly file an appeal to the decision in another attempt to “defend the law and parents’ rights in Florida.”

After Moody publicized her opinion, the Florida Department of Education issued a statement saying school districts who have imposed mask mandates have broken the law.

“Today, the department is urging every school district that has mandated masks without an opt out to promptly change its policies and comply with Florida’s rules and laws,” said Department of Education spokesman Jared Ochs.

With local school districts defying the mask mandate and the State Board of Education (BOE) withholding salaries from two school districts, the Tampa Bay Times has described Florida’s education system as in a bit of “legal limbo.”

The judge who issued the ruling, Circuit Judge John C. Cooper, has said his ruling cannot become official until it is “written and filed.” However, attorneys for the parents suing DeSantis said there is legal precedent for oral arguments to be held as valid even if the written ruling has yet to be developed.

Moody said an immediate appeal would grant an automatic stay until the court reaches another decision. In essence, requiring the school districts to follow the mask mandate ban.

A total of 13 school districts have now defied DeSantis’ executive order and imposed a state mask mandate.

With the BOE withholding salaries from employees of two school districts, the federal government has already offered financial support for the local officials who have defied DeSantis.

The U.S. Department of Education has also formally announced they are launching investigations into five states who have imposed mask mandate bans. Notably, Florida was not included on their list.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Child Wearing Mask” by US Department of Education CC BY 2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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