Florida Parents Sue School Board Over Mandate That Requires Students to Wear Masks

The parents argue that forcing children to wear masks at school denies them their right to an equal education

Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A group of parents in Florida is suing the Sarasota County school board for requiring students to wear face masks, which are recommended by federal health officials to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The suit was filed last week in a Sarasota County court by parents Amy Cook, Gustavo Collazo, Nicholas Eastman, and Catherine Gonzales after the school board approved an emergency 90-day mask mandate that extends its policy through to the end of the year.

The policy requires students attending in-person class to wear masks, with a few exceptions, for most of the school day, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

The parents argue in the suit that forcing children to wear masks at school denies them their right to an equal education.

"The policy of mandatory facemask wear for students of tender years leaves parents with little choice: subject their children to a policy that is not in the best interest of the child, or to be compelled to home school their children in a manner that is both separate, and unequal, and also results in additional harms unrelated to COVID-19."

Caroline Zucker, the school board chair, declined to comment on the lawsuit. Shirley Brown, the vice-chair of the Sarasota County School Board, said they are following guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The mask isn’t so much to protect you, as to protect others from you," she said in a phone interview Friday. "The masks, I think, are helping us keep our numbers down in the schools. It can't just be optional."

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