BY JENNIFER CABRERA
Leon County Judge John Cooper ruled for a second time today against Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order that said parents have the right to opt their children out of school mask mandates. Cooper already ruled against the governor once, but an appeal automatically stayed his order. Today’s ruling puts the judge’s order back in place.
Alachua County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlee Simon said, “Judge Cooper’s ruling is certainly good news. It confirms that our School Board members should not be penalized for approving our mask policy–a policy that follows both the law and medical science.
“We’ll continue to watch this case closely while pursuing legal action with our colleagues from the Broward and Orange County school systems. We are committed to protecting the district’s right to meet the needs of students and staff without the threat of sanctions.”
Last year’s lawsuit from the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, arguing that the governor didn’t have the authority to force districts to provide in-person schooling, took a similar path, with a Leon County judge ruling against the governor, followed by an appeal and an automatic stay of the ruling. Judge Charles Dodson (who has retired and is now representing the plaintiffs in the current suit against the governor) lifted the automatic stay, and the 1st District Court of Appeals reversed the decision the next day. Schools opened in-person in every school district.