Sept 10 (Reuters) – A Florida appeals court ruled in favor of Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday, effectively reinstating his ban on mask mandates in the state’s public schools.
The decision by the First District Court of Appeals reverses a previous ruling by a Florida district court judge who found in a lawsuit brought by parents that the state did not have authority to ban the face-covering mandates.
“No surprise here – the 1st DCA has restored the right of parents to make the best decisions for their children,” DeSantis wrote on Twitter. “I will continue to fight for parents’ rights.”
Florida is one of several U.S. states where Republican governors have sought to prevent local governments and school districts from mandating masks, in what has become a highly politicized tussle over COVID-19 precautions.
The governors say such rules infringe on personal liberty. Proponents of mask mandates have said the rules are necessary to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic during a surge driven by the more infectious Delta variant. [Editorial Note: Proponents argument contains two lies: the ‘Delta’ variant is not a risk to children, and masks do not ‘mitigate the spread’ of the virus.]
DeSantis in July issued an executive order barring school mask mandates for students. The governor has said parents should decide whether their children need to cover their faces in classrooms.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth largest district in the United States, is among more than a dozen school districts that defied DeSantis to impose masks. This week, the state Department of Education withheld funding from two of those districts.