Florida Judge Rules Governor Did Not Have Authority to Ban School Mask Mandates

Just before the start of the 2021 school year, with COVID-19 rates in Florida rapidly rising, several Florida school boards implemented mask mandates in their school districts. In response, on July 30, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 21-175, which banned mask mandates in schools, declaring that it should be parents—not the government—who decide whether their children are required to wear masks in school.

On August 6, 2021, a group of parents claiming that their children were adversely affected by the governor’s blanket ban on mask mandates in Florida schools filed a lawsuit against the governor, challenging the constitutionality of the ban. On August 27, 2021, following a four-day virtual trial, Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled from the bench that the ban was unlawful, reasoning that DeSantis overreached his authority, misinterpreted state law and disregarded the nation’s best scientific and medical opinions.

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