By Scott D. Jones
A Florida Circuit Judge ruled Friday that Gov. Ron DeSantis had overstepped his authority when he issued an executive order banning mask mandates in the state’s schools. Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper agreed with a group of parents claiming DeSantis’ order is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced. The governor’s order gave parents the sole right to decide if their child wears a mask at school.
DeSantis’ office responded following the ruling. Through a spokesman, the Governor’s office stated, “This ruling was made with incoherent justifications not based in science and facts. Frankly, not even remotely focused on the merits of the case presented.”
In the same twitter thread, DeSantis Communications Director Taryn Fenske said, “We are used to Leon County circuit court not following the law and getting reversed on appeal, which is exactly what happened last year in the school reopening case. We will continue to defend the law and parent’s rights in Florida and will immediately appeal the ruling to the 1st District Court of Appeals where we are confident we will prevail on the merits of the case.”
The Florida Department of Education also weighed in. “The ruling issued today by the 2nd Judicial Circuit discards the rule of law, said Florida Department of Education spokesman Jared Ochs. “This decision conflicts with basic and established rights of parents to make private health care and education decisions for their children.”
Along with immediate appeals by Florida state officials on today’s ruling, the Governor said yesterday he anticipates a separate lawsuit will be filed by parents who oppose school mask mandates. “I know there’s parents who had their rights taken away, who are going to pursue legal action. I think you will see that in some areas,” DeSantis said.