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Waiting for a ruling in Florida’s school mask lawsuit

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Leon County Judge John Cooper is hearing a parent lawsuit challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis' efforts to prevent school mask mandates. A ruling is due Friday. [Florida Channel/Photo from video]
Leon County Judge John Cooper is hearing a parent lawsuit challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis' efforts to prevent school mask mandates. A ruling is due Friday. [Florida Channel/Photo from video]
Published Aug. 26

Leon County Judge John Cooper had intended to get through closing arguments Wednesday in a parent-led lawsuit challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis’ efforts to prevent school districts from imposing universal mask mandates. It didn’t happen. But the sides did finish presenting their witnesses. Read on for that story and more Florida education news.

The defense made its case with parents, a Stanford professor and Florida’s K-12 chancellor. Final summations are due today, with a ruling set for Friday.

More lawsuits could be coming. The Palm Beach County School Board voted to consider legal action against DeSantis’ executive order and resulting administration rules on school masks, WPTV reports. More from the Palm Beach Post.

More on masks

Parents across the state are upset about masking and quarantines. The Brevard County school district pledged to expand virus testing availability to help ease the crunch, Florida Today reports. • St. Johns County parents urged the district not to require face coverings for students after mandating them for staff, WJXT reports. Officials said they have no plan to do so. • The Moms for Liberty group, based in Brevard, is driving a large segment of the statewide opposition to school masks, Florida Phoenix reports.

Florida families unhappy with their schools’ mask rules can seek a Hope Scholarship to transfer. So far, fewer than 70 have applied, Florida Phoenix reports.

Some districts are requiring medical exemptions. A Leon County ER physician has been fired for charging $50 for families that want a form, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. • Leon elected city and county leaders signaled their support for the school district’s strict policy, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

A state lawmaker has threatened the Flagler County school district over allegations about its mask rules. Rep. Anthony Sabatini’s letter is filled with incorrect information, Flagler Live reports.

The Bay County School Board reversed its administration’s staff mask mandate. It had been in effect for two weeks, the Panama City News Herald reports.

Who’s next? The Volusia County School Board has scheduled a special session to talk about masks for Tuesday, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. The district currently has an optional mask policy.

The DeSantis administration held firm in its stance. Education commissioner Richard Corcoran reiterated the state’s intent to withhold funding for school board member salaries if they don’t follow the state’s directives on mask mandates, Capitol News Service reports. • DeSantis said additional consequences could be in the offing, Florida Politics reports. He didn’t offer specifics. More from WKMG.

From the police blotter ... A Broward County parent who tried to walk his daughter into school without a mask was arrested for grabbing a student who tried to prevent him from videotaping other students on campus, the Miami Herald reports.

It’s not just Florida. Missouri’s attorney general filed suit to block school districts there from imposing mask mandates, the Kansas City Star reports.

Additional coronavirus concerns

A second Duval County school closed because of a virus outbreak. It will reopen in early September, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Some universities in other states are requiring proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result to enter their stadiums on game day. The University of Florida will not follow suit, with officials saying it’s not up to them to set such rules, 247Sports reports.

The changing rules and approaches to the virus are confusing. Marion County school officials acknowledged that the lack of clarity has led to a lack of trust, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

Other school news

Monroe County student testing results dropped in all grade levels this past spring. District officials said they’re working to limit the effects of lost learning, the Florida Keys Weekly reports.

The Flagler County school district is considering new attendance zones. It is accepting public input this week, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Sometimes, pop culture references don’t work. Palm Beach County schools superintendent Michael Burke apologized after saying people who want to help the district can ‘send lawyers, guns and money,’ a nod to a 1978 Warren Zevon tune, WPTV reports.

From the police blotter ... Two Broward County high school students were arrested on accusations of making threats of violence against a school, WPLG reports.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is just a click away.

Before you go ... What? You haven’t heard “Lawyers, Guns and Money” by Warren Zevon, either? Here you go.

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