Late last month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed an executive order making mask usage among school students voluntary. However, a state judge just shot down the governor’s order in a shocking ruling.
Judge John Cooper presides over Leon County’s 2nd Judicial Circuit Court and, according to Mediaite, he ruled on Friday that DeSantis “did not have the authority for a blanket mandatory ban against face mask policy, that does not provide a parental opt-out.”
“I have heard significant evidence concerning the medical and scientific basis for face mask policies and I conclude this evidence demonstrates that face mask policies that follow CDC guidance at this point in time are reasonable,” Cooper stated in his ruling.
Little evidence exists
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently “recommends universal indoor masking by all students (age 2 and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.”
This is despite a CDC study of Georgia schools that found the difference in COVID-19 transmission rates at institutions with compulsory student mask use “was not statistically significant compared with schools where mask use was optional.”
The findings were cited in a New York Magazine article that noted how many countries where children are exempt from masking rules.
Those particular nations “have explicitly recognized that the decision to mask students carries with it potential academic and social harms for children and may lack a clear benefit.”
“Not based in science”
Mediaite noted that a spokesperson for DeSantis lashed out at Judge Cooper’s decision but acknowledged that it was not unexpected.
“It’s not surprising that Judge Cooper would rule against parent’s rights and their ability to make the best educational and medical decisions for their family, but instead rule in favor of elected politicians,” the spokesperson said.
“This ruling was made with incoherent justifications, not based in science and facts — frankly not even remotely focused on the merits of the case presented,” the spokesperson added.
The Florida Department of Education also pushed back on the ruling, stating, “We will continue to fight to make sure every child has access to education.”
“We are committed to the fundamental rights of parents and will push forward on appeal to ensure that this foundation of democracy is upheld,” the organization added.