‘Cease and desist’ letter filed by lawyer for Polk parents group over school district’s mask requirement

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A lawyer for a group of parents in Polk County is demanding the Polk County School Board immediately stop a mask requirement and instead make it optional for students to wear face coverings.

A lawyer representing the group of parents sent a cease and desist letter to the district this week.

“The letter is calling for the Polk County School Board to ‘immediately cease and desist from the enforcement of its harmful and irrational involuntary masking policy’ from the district’s Code of Conduct, as this is no longer an emergency action,” the letter from Attorney Jeff Childers says. “The School Board and district officials have decided not to listen to thousands of constituent phone calls and emails stemming from a private Facebook group which has reached nearly 10,000 members who are calling for the mask mandate policy to be ended in the Polk County School System.”

Childers says the school board is not listening to recommendations from state officials like Gov. Ron DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and Surgeon General Dr. Scott A. Rivkees.

“These state leaders have made their position against involuntary mask mandates known and have advocated for them to be removed from policy,” he said.

Childers said he has been instructed by the parents to file a lawsuit if the school ignored their cease and desist order.

At a school board work session on Tuesday, school board members decided to keep the mask mandate through the end of the school year.

“It just just doesn’t make sense with only a couple weeks left to take a chance,” school board member Lori Cunningham said.

During the meeting, school board members acknowledged the cease and desist letter. One member said, “that is not being ignored, that is being taken very seriously.”

Another discussion on the mask mandate is scheduled for the next school board work session on June 8.

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