Q&A Of The Day – What Happens If Your Child Doesn’t Wear A Mask To School In SFL? Part 1
Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.
Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio
Today’s entry: Brian, I’m hoping you can shed light on the school mask mandate issue. I’d originally opted my child out of the mask mandate at the start of the year and am considering sending my child to school without one on Monday. I’m outraged that the school district is eliminating parental choice when, as you’ve pointed out, there’s science behind not wearing them in the classroom. My question is what happens if my child doesn’t wear a mask to school with the new mandate? I'm not looking to create a problem but I also don’t think a school board has a right to impair my child’s health because of their mask agenda.
Bottom Line: Today is the first day of school in Miami-Dade and the first day with a mask mandate without parental opt-out in Palm Beach County. With Broward having started the school year last week with a mandate in place, all three south Florida school districts are now in the same place regarding mask policy. First, there are two exemptions to the mask mandates. Students who have a disability defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Those exemptions are only being recognized with a doctor’s note outlining a child’s need under the ADA or Section 504. Beyond those exemptions the districts took a hardline. Palm Beach County specifically made clear that a child having a note from a doctor would not suffice for an exemption under their new policy outside of the ADA or Section 504. The language in Broward and Dade’s edicts states “under federal law” which may leave a little more room for interpretation. So, what could happen if your child doesn’t wear a mask? That’s a good question.
Notably, out of Broward’s 275,785 students, there was only one instance of a student defying the mask policy cited by Superintendent Vickie Cartwright last week – which appears to have been resolved without indecent (meaning they likely were given a mask to wear and the student wore it). That takes us to how this policy, at least in theory, would be enforced. The mask mandates fall under “dress code” policies. If you go to the Student Code of Conduct section regarding dress codes, that should provide you with a view of the possible for violations. In the case of mask policy, based on existing guidance, a student not wearing a mask will likely be offered one to wear. Palm Beach County specifically states up to five masks per student will be provided. If a student refuses, it would likely follow a traditional dress code violation. That type of infraction could result in a student being removed from class and asked to leave campus along with disciplinary action up to and including detention or suspension.
Now here’s the real wildcard. What’s happening in the Leon County Court. Currently all Florida school districts with mandatory mask mandates are in violation of state law. Thus, these school districts retain no lawful authority to take punitive action against students for not wearing masks. I’ll pickup with that consideration in the second part of today’s Q&A.