Superintendent Rocky Hanna has announced that Leon County Schools (LCS) is withdrawing from the appeal process of the DOAH ruling in regards to the State Department of Health Emergency Rule.
The announcement came via the LCS Twitter account just before noon on Tuesday.
It was reported on Monday that several school boards – including LCS – had moved quickly to appeal the judge’s decision that upheld a Florida Department of Health rule aimed at preventing student mask requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Attorneys for the school boards filed a notice Friday taking the case to the 4th District Court of Appeal.
The notice said the appeal was being filed by the school boards in Miami-Dade, Leon, Duval, Broward and Alachua counties. The Orange County School Board also has been a party in the case, but it was not listed as being part of the appeal.
However, on Tuesday morning – at 10:53 A.M. – Leon County School Board member Alva Striplin posted on her Twitter account that she was not consulted on the decision.
Striplin wrote, “This @LeonSchools Board member did NOT sign on to waste more taxpayer dollars on endless appeals in this power struggle against @GovRonDeSantis and @richardcorcoran, nor was I given the courtesy of voicing my opinion on this appeal.”
On Tuesday at 11:55 A.M., Leon County Schools released Hanna’s statement withdrawing from the appeal.
In a 25-page decision Friday, Newman upheld the emergency rule, which, in part, said decisions to opt out of student mask requirements are at the “sole discretion” of parents or guardians. He wrote that the school boards “failed to prove that the emergency rule opt-out provisions facilitate the spread of COVID-19 in schools.”
“On the contrary, the evidence admitted in this case established that the emergency rule opt-out provisions strike the right balance by ensuring that the protocols that govern the control of COVID-19 in schools go no further than what is required to keep children safe and in school,” Newman wrote.