On Friday, Leon County Circuit Court Judge John C. Cooper ruled that Governor Ron DeSantis acted beyond the boundaries of his authority when he signed an executive order blocking local school boards from enacting mask protocols. The ruling came after a four-day trial in a case brought to court by concerned parents from Hillsborough, Pinellas, Alachua and Palm Beach counties.
In reaction to this development, Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz issued the following statement:
“Judge Cooper’s ruling represents a major victory for schoolchildren and their families all across Florida. It also validates the bold actions of all those courageous school boards in our state that defied an authoritarian governor bent on playing politics rather than allowing them to protect the lives of kids by enacting prudent health protocols.
“Governor DeSantis’s unconstitutional executive order banning mask protocols in schools was born from a stunning combination of blind political ambition and stupefying irresponsibility. It is an outrage that Florida’s parents had to go to court to force this administration to accept the decisions of local school leaders to implement the public health measures they deemed necessary to save lives.
“Be that as it may, I applaud the Judge on his wise ruling, and call on the Governor to stop standing in the way of local school officials trying to do what is best for the health of their students, their families, and their employees. It is time for DeSantis to finally devote the time and energy needed to boost vaccinations across the state so we can begin to lower our COVID infection and hospitalization rates and save Floridian lives.”
Image Credits: Students, some wearing protective masks, arrive for the first day of school at Sessums Elementary School in Riverview, Fla., on Aug. 10. (Chris O'Meara/AP)