TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by six county school districts which contested the state’s school mask policies, as set by new Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo. Gov. Ron DeSantis’s press secretary celebrated the news on Twitter and posted a picture of the dismissal.
Broward, Miami-Dade, Orange, Duval, Alachua and Leon counties had sued in opposition to a Sept. 22 update to the Department of Health’s emergency rules for COVID-19.
The new rule was Ladapo’s first act in office, and allowed parents to opt out of mask mandates while also removing quarantine requirements for students and parents.
The six school districts that had sued the state over the rule had the case dismissed due to “an invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority,” according to the Judge Brian Newman’s ruling.
In response to the ruling, the governor’s press secretary, Christina Pushaw, called the dismissal a “massive win for parents’ rights in Florida.” They said it was the first ruling on the legal merits of Emergency Rule 64DER21-15.
In a statement released from the governor’s office after the ruling was delivered, State Surgeon General Ladapo and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran weighed in on the news.
“There is no strong evidence of health benefits for children as a result of mask mandates in schools. The rights of parents continue to be protected in Florida, as we can see by this tremendous decision,” said Ladapo. “Florida will not make decisions out of fear, but rather out of close analysis of the data.”
Corcoran took a different approach, instead focusing on the consequences of violating the state’s laws regarding the use of mask mandates in school districts that defied the state’s statutes.
“When you break the law there are consequences,” said Corcoran. “If these districts continue to break the law, we plan to fully hold them accountable.”