Judge rules lawsuit challenging executive order banning student masks can proceed

A Florida judge has ruled that a lawsuit filed by parents who are challenging Governor Ron DeSantis' executive order banning student masks mandates in schools can move forward.

After a lengthy hearing on Thursday, Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper refused to dismiss the suit challenging the banning of school mask mandates without opt-outs.  The DeSantis order bans schools from imposing mask mandates unless parents can opt-out of the requirements. 

A dozen parents from across the state, including some from Orange County, filed the suit saying it violates part of the constitution. 

They want to see the governor’s ban on mask mandates in schools go away. 

The lawsuit says preventing school districts from requiring masks threatens the safety of schools. The governor says the mask decision should be made by parents and not locally elected officials.

The order clears the way for a three-day hearing next week on whether to block enforcement of the law. 

Five Florida school districts -- including four of the largest -- are defying that order by permitting mask opt-outs only for medical reasons rather than parental choice.

Orange County School Board Chair Teresa Jacobs said the board will take up the issue on Tuesday. 

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