Parents sue DeSantis, school districts over not enforcing face masks

A group of Florida parents is suing Gov. Ron DeSantis and a dozen school districts over decisions to not mandate masks during the upcoming school year, saying their children are constitutionally guaranteed a safe education.

The parents, including some who live in Central Florida, said DeSantis overstepped his authority and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when he prohibited schools from enacting mask mandates. They said their children are disabled, have compromised immune systems and are too young to be vaccinated, placing them at greater risk from the coronavirus.

“That’s not fair to them, you know, they deserve the right to access their free and appropriate public education, just like every other child,” Judi Hayes, an attorney and Orange County Schools parent involved in the lawsuit, said. “If we’re taking choices away from kids with disabilities, there’s no way it doesn’t run afoul of the ADA.”

READ: Orange County schools to require face masks for students unless parents provide note opting out

Hayes said her son does not have an alternative to his local public school since no private schools in the area require masks, and she would have to quit her job to stay home with him.

The group is asking a judge to invalidate DeSantis’ action and is applying for an emergency halt to the order while the case winds its way through the legal system, citing the fact that schools begin their new year just days from now.

READ: Gov. DeSantis signs executive order against rules to make children wear masks in schools

“It opens up a world of possibilities for our children,” Hayes said of a possible victory. “Not just in terms of continuing their education, but being able to do it safely.”

Channel 9 has reached out to DeSantis’ office for comment but has not heard back.

Read the full lawsuit below: