Ron DeSantis’ ban on school mask mandates back in place for now

covid 19 court
Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed confidence the states will side with 'parents' rights.'

An appellate court has put Florida’s ban on school mask mandates back in place— at least for now.

“Given the presumption against vacating the automatic stay, the stay should have been left in place pending appellate review,” reads an order from the 1st District Court of Appeal.

Because the state of Florida has appealed a circuit court ruling against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order forbidding mask mandates, the appellate court said that ruling should have been stayed. That means the Governor’s order should remain in place.

Further, the order makes clear appellate judges at least see a legal argument for the state to make on appeal.

“Upon our review of the trial court’s final judgment and the operative pleadings, we have serious doubts about standing, jurisdiction, and other threshold matters,” the order reads. “These doubts significantly militate against the likelihood of the appellees’ ultimate success in the appeal.”

The ruling seems to signal a high probability the appeals court could ultimately accept DeSantis’ argument that Florida’s Parents’ Bill of Rights gives the authority for his order.

DeSantis said that’s because the legislation, which he signed earlier this year, leaves health decisions about children in the hands of parents. He praised the DCA order.

“No surprise here – the 1st DCA has restored the right of parents to make the best decisions for their children. I will continue to fight for parents’ rights,” DeSantis tweeted.

That’s not how the lower court saw things. Circuit Court Judge John Cooper, in a case brought by parents of disabled children, said the same Bill of Rights legislation acknowledges school districts in an emergency can issue policies to protect public health, and thus the Governor’s order actually violated the Parents’ Bill of Rights.

In a written ruling, Cooper made clear he considered any enforcement of a ban on mask mandates would be in defiance of his ruling.

“If the Defendants strictly enforce the Executive Order, the Department of Health rule, or any other policy prohibiting mask mandates without a parental opt-out, then they are acting without authority and are refusing to comply with all provisions of the law,” he wrote.

But sponsors of the legislation say the DeSantis’ argument is correct.

The last order also raises issues of whether plaintiffs had standing to make the case.

Parents of children with special needs said blocking mask mandates limited their ability to send their children to school and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The appellate court order does not mean the court will rule for DeSantis, but it said any stay on his executive order should be shelved until a ruling is made.

Appellate judges Stephanie Ray, Harvey Jay and A.S. Tanenbaum concurred with the order.

Thirteen Florida school districts have mask mandates in effect that only allow parents to opt out with a medical excuse, if at all.

The Governor’s office celebrated what the appellate order signaled.

“Dem media activists framed the initial ruling as ‘crushing defeat for DeSantis’ even though everyone knew the appeal was coming,” said DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw. “Now, the same people will either decline to report on this victory or frame it as ‘NBD, just a temporary setback’ for forced-masking.”

DeSantis at an appearance shortly after the ruling did not address the order directly but drew a juxtaposition between his policies and those of President Joe Biden, including on masks in school.

“He says school boards should be able to eliminate parents rights and force 5-year-old kids to wear masks all day, and that’s what he thinks is appropriate government,” DeSantis said. “… We live in a consitutional system where people’s rights are respected.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Alex

    September 10, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    Under state law maybe.

    But let’s test the Federal Constitutionality of one parents “right” to endanger the lives and health of other children.

    Nevermind the simple fact these parents are unbelievably irresponsible at caring for their own kids.

    • Andre

      September 10, 2021 at 3:24 pm

      The kids belong to the parents not the Federal Government. The Supreme Court has ruled twice in 1908 and 1922 that its the States who oversee a public health crisis, not the Federal Branch. 10th Amendment!

      • Alex

        September 10, 2021 at 3:37 pm

        Kids don’t belong to anybody.

        Parents are the caretakers.

        And it’s clear Republican “caretakers” don’t actually give a crap.

        • Andre

          September 10, 2021 at 3:52 pm

          Kids are dependents of the parents (guardians). The Public School System has zero to say about another parent’s choice of whether or not they send their child to school with a mask. Read Florida Law HB 241. It’s only 13 rogue counties out of 67 that are causing the problems. The other 54 counties seem to understand medical freedom, individual liberty, and how to respect people’s sovereignty.

          • Alex

            September 10, 2021 at 4:02 pm

            So where’s the part about you own your kids?

            Guardianship is not ownership stupid.

            And no I didn’t bother to read the rest of your ignorant nonsense.

  • Andre

    September 10, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    Terrific Job Governor! Start Firing the Officials who are Breaking the Law! Thank you Governor Ron for Standing Up for Liberty and Medical Freedom!

  • Ron Ogden

    September 10, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    Yeah, DeSantis is indeed like Trump. His policy positions win again!
    Seriously, the Governor has never argued against wearing masks or getting vaccinated. He supports both. He simply will not FORCE people to do it. It is not a matter of health, or science, or even politics: it is a matter of the illegitimacy of FORCE against parent’s rights and DeSantis rightly will not allow this abuse of power. Do the right thing, mask and vax–if that is your CHOICE for yourself and your children–but stand with Republicans against the abuse of power these fearsome local mandates represent.

    • Alex

      September 10, 2021 at 3:40 pm

      It’s your right to not get vaccinated.

      But don’t expect to go places or work jobs where you endanger other people.


      • Jerry

        September 10, 2021 at 3:59 pm

        If the vaccine is effective as they say, how is an unvaccinated person a danger to a vaccinated person?

        • Alex

          September 10, 2021 at 4:10 pm

          There’s a couple of levels.

          The first one is very rare but possible and that is you can infect a vaccinated person. You have about 11 times the chance of dying from covid if you’re unvaccinated then vaccinated tho.

          Another is you’re endangering the other idiots around you who aren’t vaccinated.

          And another one is unvaccinated people are incubators of the virus, raising the odds of variants. You know like the Delta one right now that’s far more infectious? That was created in a human body when the virus was multiplying.

          Yes there really are no logical reasons not to be vaccinated.

          In fact it’s downright stupid and irresponsible.

      • Ron Ogden

        September 10, 2021 at 4:29 pm

        If you are afraid of the disease, act in your own best interest. That’s your right. If I’m NOT afraid of the disease but prefer to balance the risks and benefits, that’s my right. Regardless of whether you consider it wise, it’s my right not to get vaccinated, and it’s my right not to wear a mask. Same for children. If you want to change that, act through the legislative process where there is open debate and representatives of all the people cast their votes. In a Constitutional society, that’s how we decide these matters. DeSantis is following the law as he interprets it. I believe he is correct and I believe the court ultimately will agree.

        • Alex

          September 10, 2021 at 4:48 pm

          You just explained you’re a tough guy moron.


          • Ron Ogden

            September 11, 2021 at 6:54 am

            Alex, I notice it doesn’t take very much for you to descend into school yard name calling. All right, if it makes you feel justified to call me a “tough guy moron” I guess I can put up with it, but that doesn’t explain anything. I know this is a scary time for a lot of people but do try harder to be open-minded and rational. I am glad you wear a mask, and I am glad your kids do, too. I am an American, too, and I choose different. If I wake up tomorrow and I feel like I should be wearing a mask, I will. And if Biden comes along and tries to tell me I can’t wear a mask, screw’m. I am American, I choose for me. You have that right, too.

  • Tom

    September 10, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    Love you guys!
    Jerry, Ron and Andre
    Kick this Alex Manchurian socialist to the curb where he sleeps. Don’t stop!

    You are all correct!

    • Alex

      September 10, 2021 at 4:11 pm

      12 time proven liar ^

      • Tom

        September 10, 2021 at 7:18 pm

        Liar and dumb ass.
        Just a joke socialist.
        You got your ass kicked all over FP.
        Good job guys.
        Curb crawler.

    • Alex

      September 10, 2021 at 8:19 pm

      Owned twice today.

      How does it feel loser?

      • Tom

        September 10, 2021 at 9:20 pm

        You are owned like the prostitute you are. Cheap & easy. Curb crawler.

  • David Dorward

    September 10, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    Alex has his “facts” all wrong. The vaccinated pose a threat to all, as they continue to shed virus though they are more
    protected against serious symptoms. They are unlikely to know when they are infected.

    Of course, we have learned that the vaccinated can and do experience serious disease. It is called breakthrough infection.

    Worst of all, the virus develops mutations in the virus that is frustrated by the protective aspects of the vaccine, which only deals with one feature of covid, the spike proteins. Natural infection, by comparison, confers protection across the entire virus and is.very long lasting, perhaps for a lifetime.

    This whole debate should center on freedom of the individual to make their own choices about new and unproven pharma therapies. Want a vaccine? Your choice. Don’t want one? Still your choice in America.

    • Steven M Grabarczyk

      September 10, 2021 at 10:56 pm

      Right but if YOU are wrong and infect and KILL someone, are you ready to go to jail?

  • Ron N.

    September 10, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    For God’s sake. Just read the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution. Biden’s supposed to have a law degree, but it’s obvious he’s a dolt, and he’ll lose at SCOTUS 7-2, maybe 8-1.

    • Tom

      September 10, 2021 at 9:23 pm

      Agreed Rob, but facts don’t work with these manchurian tom a tons. Unreasonable extremists.

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Comments are closed.


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