TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday addressed a judge’s ruling in favor of a group of parents who challenged his ban against school mask mandates.
In a milestone decision, Judge John C. Cooper sided with parents suing the governor and education officials over his order banning school districts from enforcing mask mandates. Cooper’s ruling said the state did not have the legal authority to ban any and all mask mandates.
“The actions of the defendants do not pass constitutional muster, because they seek to deprive the school boards in advance, of their rights,” Cooper said. “The law does not require the school board to get permission in advance, and only provides that the school board be able to be challenged on its reasonableness.”
DeSantis has argued school districts with mask mandates violate the Parents’ Bill of Rights, a controversial law signed in June, which gives parents the right to make health decisions for their children.
“It’s going to be appealed,” DeSantis said Monday in Jacksonville, where he was discussing monoclonal antibody treatments. “If you look at the ruling, he’s basically saying that it [Parents Bill of Rights] violated the school boards, but in reality, the school boards weren’t event really parties to the case. I think we’re going to have really good grounds to appeal in terms of the first district court of appeal.”
DeSantis said the Parents’ Bill of Rights gives parents the option to opt-out if they believe it’s in their child’s best interest.
“They’ve basically taken away the right of the parent and said you don’t have any say in it,” DeSantis said about the ruling.
“What if the reverse happened? What if a district banned anyone from wearing masks?” DeSantis asked. “I bet you would have parents sue under the Parents’ Bill of Rights say ‘Hey, wait a minute, I think this is in the best interest of my child’….You know what, I think they would win,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis will be in Tampa to hold a press conference with Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez and Dr. Ulyee Choe, the director of the Department of Health in Pinellas County.