Just days after a judge vacated a stay that allowed a ban on school mask mandates to remain in place, another court ruled that the stay should not have been set aside in the first place.
The decisions are connected to DeSantis’ July 30 executive order forbidding school districts from imposing mask mandates that require the masking of students in K-12 classrooms unless those policies offer a reason for parents to opt-out of the mandate.
In response, some school districts violated DeSantis’ order by requiring K-12 students to wear masks to school and sued DeSantis on grounds that his order was unconstitutional.
On Aug. 27, Florida 2nd District Court Judge John C. Cooper ruled that in issuing his executive order DeSantis overstepped his authority as the state’s chief executive. DeSantis appealed that decision triggering an automatic stay that would have kept the mask ban in place pending the outcome of the appeal.
In response, the parents in those original school districts sued to have that stay vacated, and on Sept. 8 Cooper ordered the ban set aside.
DeSantis filed an emergency appeal of that decision, and on Sept. 10, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal reinstated the stay ordering the mask ban be reinstated and allowing the state to withhold funds from school districts that ignore it.
“Given the presumption against vacating the automatic stay, the stay should have been left in place pending appellate review,” the court ruling said. “Accordingly, we grant the appellants’ motion, quash the trial court’s order vacating the automatic stay, and reinstate the stay.”
Press secretary Christina Pushaw said that DeSantis applauded the court’s decision.
“Just like last year in the school re-opening litigation, the First District Court of Appeal has reinstated Florida’s ability to protect the freedom for parents to make the best decisions for their children while they make their own ruling on the appeal,” Pushaw said. “We look forward to winning the appeal and will continue to fight for parents’ rights.”
The appeal remains pending.