The 1st District Court of Appeals in Florida reimposed a stay Friday on a lower court ruling blocking Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis from outlawing mask mandates in schools.
DeSantis had requested a stay after Judge John Cooper ruled that the state could not impose penalties on local officials and educators who refused to comply with the ban on mask mandates. DeSantis can now punish districts that do not comply with his order while the case works its way through the court system.
“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,” Friday’s ruling said. “These doubts significantly militate against vacating the automatic stay, the stay should have been left in place pending appellate review.”
“We are disappointed by the ruling and will be seeking pass-through jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Florida. With a stay in place, students, parents and teachers are back in harm’s way,” said attorney Charles Gallagher, who is representing a group of parents suing the state, according to the Miami Herald.
Thirteen of the 67 school districts in Florida have already handed down mask mandates in defiance of DeSantis’ order. The state has begun withholding funding to some of those jurisdictions and is investigating non-compliance in others, according to the Herald.