Q&A Of The Day – What Happens If Your Child Doesn’t Wear A Mask To School In SFL? Part 2
Bottom Line: The Florida Board of Education and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran were quite clear regarding the illegality of school mask mandates. They also made clear that punishments for students who didn’t comply were unlawful. This is specifically addressed in both Governor DeSantis’s executive order and the rule adopted by the Florida Board of Education. The rule reads these instances must be documented by school districts for the state to review:
- Enforcement of the unlawful face-covering mandate policy against a student, including, but not limited to, instances of a student being sent home, reassigned, disciplined, suspended, isolated, stigmatized, warned or harassed because of the student’s failure to comply with the [school board’s] unlawful face-covering mandate policy.
According to the state, which retains legal supremacy over the local school districts, if any of that happens it’s illegal. It was on back of that language with which Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran stated: We cannot have government officials pick and choose what laws they want to follow. Now, here comes the big question. How will Leon County Circuit Court Judge John Cooper rule on the legal challenges to the state’s school mask policy? The trial begins today and is scheduled to conclude on Wednesday. This creates a bit of a quandary for the first three days of this week. Until and unless Cooper strikes down the state’s rule, school districts are breaking the law with their mask policies and you and your child would be on solid ground to push back against it.
If the law is upheld in court and school districts took punitive action against your child, they could set themselves up for legal liability – which incidentally - it’s remarkable that the legal consul of these school districts would allow for this possibility in the first place. If, however, the state’s law is struck down these policies would be legal, and your child could be subjected to the harsh punishments outlined in the student code of conduct. It’s kind of a legal game of chicken which would have your child caught in the middle for the next few days until we have legal clarity.
It’s my expectation that school districts would attempt to tread lightly with punishments over mask violations until there’s legal clarity, but who knows? It takes an awful lot of audacity to pass rules that break the law in the first place. Best wishes to you and your family with whatever decision you choose to make.