A challenge made by six Florida school districts concerning the state’s ban on mask mandates was crinkled up into a little ball and tossed in the garbage can on Friday, according to a report from the Tallahassee Democrat.
The case was made by school boards in Miami-Dade, Broward, Leon, Duval, Orange, and Alachua counties, all which filed the challenge concerning the ban on mask mandates in schools.
Brian Newman, deputy chief judge of the Division of Administrative Hearings, tossed the case, in part saying the state’s emergency rule “strikes the right balance by implementing protocols that are no more restrictive than required to keep children safe and learning in school.”
Florida Politics reported the judge ruled the state Department of Health has the authority to set rules on quarantines and mask mandates. The website noted the decision said the school boards do not have standing to overrule orders by the state’s surgeon general.
“The COVID-19 protocols adopted pursuant to section 1003.22(3) should be no more restrictive than necessary to keep children safe and learning in school,” Newman went on to write. “The fact that the Emergency Rule achieves this result — and at the same time involves parents in decisions involving their child’s health and education — does not run counter to the broad rulemaking directive.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a man who has become an inspiration to Republicans in positions of leadership all across the country for how he and his state have handled the COVID pandemic, issued an executive order back in July that barred school mask mandates. DeSantis said that parents should be the ones making the decision if their children should wear masks or not.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education had urged a Florida judge to block the state from withholding federal funds from two of the school districts for implementing mask mandates, Axios reported.
“The department filed a complaint last week with the agency’s Office of Administrative Law Judges and was seeking a cease-and-desist order against the state of Florida, Axios reported,” the Newsmax report said.
“The Florida Department of Education has unlawfully — and explicitly — reduced the amount of state aid provided to Florida school districts based on their receipt of federal funds,” the complaint said.