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Gov. DeSantis Vows To Win Appeal Of School Mask Mandate Ruling

MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) - Governor Ron DeSantis has vowed to win an appeal of a judge's ruling last week that overturned an executive order that banned school mask mandates.

"It's going to be appealed. Obviously, it's problematic. If you look at the ruling, he's basically saying it had violated the school boards, the Parents Bill of Rights violates the school board, but in reality, the school boards were not even parties in the case. I think we have really good grounds to appeal in terms of the First District Court of Appeal," the DeSantis said during a stop in Jacksonville on Monday.

Last Friday, Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper ruled that the governor overstepped his authority by issuing an executive order banning the mandates. He agreed with a group of parents who claimed in a lawsuit that DeSantis' ban on the mandates is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.

Cooper said DeSantis' order "is without legal authority."

DeSantis disagrees.

"Parents should be given the right to opt out if they think that's in the best interest of their kids. So districts can actually have policies, but you have to offer the parent the right. They've basically taken away the right of the parent and say you don't have any say in it," he said.

Cooper said that while the governor and others have argued that a new Florida law gives parents the ultimate authority to oversee health issues for their children, it also exempts government actions that are needed to protect public health and are reasonable and limited in scope. He said a school district's decision to require student masking to prevent the spread of the virus falls within that exemption.

Roughly a dozen Florida school districts that did institute a mask mandate before the case was decided did have an opt out for medical reasons.

Counties with such mask requirements now represent about half of Florida's 2.8 million students.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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