Families wait hours outside Venice chiropractor’s office to get medical exemption forms for school mask mandate

Coronavirus

VENICE, Fla. (WFLA) — More than a hundred parents in Sarasota County lined up outside a chiropractor’s office to get a medical exemption form for their children. Many waited for hours Monday.

A 90-day mask mandate officially went into effect Monday in schools across Sarasota County.

Parents and their children started lining up outside Twin Palms Chiropractic in Venice before 6:00 p.m. to get a mask exemption form. The last group walked in shortly before 11 p.m.

Caitlyn Sparks showed up to get a form for each of her children. She says her kids don’t want to wear masks in school.

“I think it’s ridiculous to have to wear a mask eight hours a day, I can’t stand it for five minutes,” Sparks said.

Dr. Dan Busch signs the medical mask exemption forms. The chiropractor says his policy is to meet with the student and their parent or legal guardian to determine if they qualify for an exemption. He told 8 On Your Side he’s signed dozens over the last week. 

“You’re looking at things like anxiety, asthma, depression, respiratory distress, there’s a lot of qualifying conditions,” Busch said. “I do feel as a parent I should be allowed to parent and have those choices.”

“It’s not a political thing, Busch said. “I am not an anti-mask person or an anti-VAX person but I am a pro-freedom, pro-choice person.”

School district leaders in Sarasota County say they’ve seen several medical exemptions come in and it is a concern.

8 On Your Side sent the school district a photo of the line wrapped around the building Monday. A spokesman, “We will continue to check the validity of all medical exemption forms submitted and work through any inconsistencies we receive.”

Parents like Sparks say this is an opportunity they’ve searched high and low for.

“I think it’s great because many doctors are refusing to sign it, and this is one doctor who is volunteering his time with no pay to sign all of these forms,” Sparks said.

There were concerns that the practice was offering mask exemptions to anyone who wanted one. Dr. Busch says he has not given exemptions to parents he has not met with.

The school district says its looking into this and its attorneys are involved.

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