A Florida Circuit Court judge Friday overturned Gov. Ron DeSantis' mask mandate ban for Florida schools.
Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper said DeSantis overreached his authority, misinterpreted state law, and ignored scientific evidence in issuing his order, The Palm Beach Post reported.
"This statute does not support a statewide order or any action interfering with the constitutional authority of local school districts to provide for the safety and health of students based on the unique facts on the ground in a particular county," Cooper said.
"The law of Florida does not permit the defendants to punish school boards for adopting a face mask mandate."
Cooper added that the state’s Parents Bill of Rights allows such policies as mandatory face coverings to improve school safety.
The governor's order gave parents the sole right to decide if their child wears a mask at school.
Last week, DeSantis asked Cooper to throw out a lawsuit by parents challenging his ban on strict mask mandates in schools, arguing the court lacks jurisdiction over the issue.
Disgruntled parents who "fear being around unvaccinated, non-masked people" don’t have a right to sue because the executive order raises political rather than legal questions, DeSantis argued in a motion to dismiss filed Aug. 16.
"The governor, as the public official duly elected by the majority of the citizens of the state of Florida, was entrusted with the sole authority to make such statewide policy determinations — not the parent plaintiffs, and not a court," a lawyer for DeSantis said in the filing.
The Tallahasse school district announced on Sunday that it will require masks for students from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade starting Monday in defiance of DeSantis' order.
"Governor, I do have an obligation to uphold the laws of the state of Florida," Leon County Schools superintendent Rocky Hanna said in Facebook video. "I have a greater obligation, however, to protect for the health, safety and welfare of the children in Tallahassee and Leon County.”
Hanna's announcement came days after Florida's Board of Education warned school districts in Broward and Alachua counties that they could lose funding if they do not abide by DeSantis' orders.
Bloomberg News contributed to this story.
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