Dozens gather to protest Brevard County Schools’ mask mandate

MELBOURNE, Fla. — Roughly 30 parents, grandparents, and other residents gathered at school board headquarters Thursday for a protest of Brevard Public Schools’ newly adopted emergency mask mandate.

“It takes away from their learning, it’s a distraction,” said protester Lorraine Bucknre. “You got kindergarteners being put in this.”

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3,500 cases have been reported to the district since Aug. 2.

On Monday, the school board voted three to two to require students and staff to wear masks while indoors on school district property for the next 30 days.

Masks are not required while eating, or during strenuous activity.

However, currently the only opt-out for parents is a medical certification.

“Parents should have the right to choose whether or not they want to mask their children,” said protester Kaeleena O’Connor.

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During a visit to Brevard County on Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the same.

“I think there have been some local authorities who’ve violated the law and taken the decision-making authority out of the hands of parents,” DeSantis said.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody also issued an advisory opinion telling another Florida school district it must comply with the Florida Departments of Health’s emergency rule that allows an opt-out of mask mandates for parents unless, or until the judicial authorities declare them invalid.

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The Brevard County school board has not discussed modifying its recently adopted policy.

“They would be the ones to decide if they wanted to make any type of change based on recent events, said Russ Bruhn of Brevard County Government and Community Relations. “But, right now I have no indication that’s going to happen as of right now.”

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