During a virtual hearing Tuesday, Patrick Leduc challenged the rule on behalf of several plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit against the district.
Leduc says whether students wear a face covering at school is a decision that should be left to parents, not school administrators.
During the hearing, Leduc said the districts' mandate is tantamount to the district telling parents, "we love your children more than you."
"We have the power to dictate to you, parent, what we think is in your child’s best interest," Leduc mocked.
He also questioned why the mandate allows students to take off their masks during the lunch hour.
"So, does that mean COVID takes a break for an hour?" he challenged, holding up a surgical mask while arguing face coverings do not provide protection against spreading or contracting the virus.
The school district’s attorney, Jason Margolin disagreed. He called Leduc's lawsuit meritless and wants it thrown out.
Margolin says the science is on his side.
"It is also well-established that face coverings and social distancing have been proven to minimize the transmission of, the exposure of COVID-19," he explained.
Margolin told Hillsborough County Judge Martha Cook the district is closely following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommend facial covering to protect the wearer and others from spreading the virus.
He says kids can spread it too.
"There’s no dispute that children, like adults, can and do spread the virus. We cited to court several studies on this point including from the American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC guidance," said Margolin.
Both attorneys cited studies backing up their claims. It’s the mask debate happening all over the country and now a Tampa judge has a weighty decision to make.
Judge Cook says she will rule before Christmas.
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