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Leon County Schools withdrawing from appeal process for masks in schools rule

Leon County School board members are now working without pay, after the state ruled the...
Leon County School board members are now working without pay, after the state ruled the district’s new COVID policies still violate the law.(WCTV)
Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 12:09 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Leon County Schools announced Tuesday it is withdrawing from the appeal process challenging a ruling in favor of the Florida Department of Health’s emergency rule barring mandatory mask-wearing in the classroom.

Superintendent Rocky Hanna issued the following statement to WCTV:

“While we continue to believe in our right to make decisions that are overwhelmingly supported by our community we no longer believe it is prudent for us to pursue a short-term legal remedy to determine where the line is drawn between state rights and the rights of our local school system. We will continue to look for other avenues to advocate for home rule and local control in the future.”

LCS Superintendent Rocky Hanna

A judge from the Divison of Administrative Hearings decided on Friday, Nov. 5, to uphold DOH’s emergency rule, which says parents or guardians have the “sole discretion” to opt students out of mask requirements.

Five school boards, including Leon County’s, quickly filed an appeal to the administrative law judge’s ruling on Nov. 5.

LCS recently became compliant with the state rules on COVID-19 mask-wearing and quarantine policies, with Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran making the announcement on Nov. 3.

Now that the district is following the rules, the state will return all funds that were withheld from LCS, including school board member salaries.

“Data and numbers are moving us into compliance, not simply to comply,” Hanna said at a school board meeting on Oct. 26, in which the district’s COVID policies were changed.

This is a developing story.

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