Sarasota County parents sue school board over mask requirement

The debate on whether students should have to wear masks while at school is heating up in Sarasota County

The school board voted last week to extend their mask order through the end of the school year, and some parents aren’t happy. So much so, they’re now filing a lawsuit against the school board in an attempt to make their voices head. 

The discussion on this topic at last week’s school board meeting lasted four hours. Parents had a lot of opinions, and things got heated. However, in the end, the school board voted 3 t-2 to extend the mask order that requires their students and teachers to wear a face covering while on campus until the end of the school year. 

Some parents were on board with this decision. Other parents were not. They told FOX 13 this mandate infringes on their students right to an equal education, and that’s why they’re now suing the school board. 

PREVIOUS: Sarasota County School Board approves continuing face-mask mandate in 3-2 vote

Going into last week's meeting, they came prepared. Parents had already raised over $11,000 to hire an attorney if the mask order was extended. They said their students have rights, and they plan to fight for them. 

However, the school board argues that this mask mandate is what is helping to protect their students. 

“The bottom line is we’ve got to follow what the CDC says, the Department of Health says, and the science says. Masks keep down the spread. Look at our dashboard on our website, you can see the spread is coming into the schools, but not beyond the schools that’s what important,” said Shirely Brown, the vice-chair of the Sarasota County School Board. 

LINK: The full policy is available here

Parents who weren’t happy with the board’s decision didn’t waste any time filing the lawsuit the day after the school board made their decision. Some Sarasota County parents state in the 59-page lawsuit that it’s not right that they should be forced to choose between requiring their students to wear a mask at school even if they don’t want to, or otherwise be forced to home-school.

RELATED: Study: Universal mask use could save over 130K American lives by early 2021

Despite the ruling, the school board can always change their decision. At their last meeting, they said they would keep an eye on the numbers and revisit this topic if needed. 

Their next meeting will be on Nov. 10. 

PDF: You can read the lawsuit here