Concerned parents sue Lee County school district over mask mandate

Published: September 22, 2020 6:44 PM EDT
Updated: September 24, 2020 4:51 AM EDT

Parents are furious over the choice they are forced to make: Send kids to brick-and-mortar school with a mask, or keep them home to learn online. Those parents are suing the school district over the requirement. Their lawyer says the school mandate is creating an unequal playing field in children’s education.

Jacob and Ashley Pruitt are passionate parents.

“Yes, we want our kids safe,” Jacob said. “That’s why we’re here.”

“You have told us all wear the mask or stay home, thus, removing our ability to access equitable education,” Ashley said.

The Pruitts, along with parent Corey Dye, are taking the Lee County School Board to court.

“Why aren’t you also recommending at-risk or high-risk do distance learning?” Dye said.

The parents suing the district don’t want their kids to have to wear masks in school.

Tampa attorney Patrick Leduc is representing them.

“My lawsuit is to empower parents,” Leduc said. “I believe that parents have their children’s best interest in mind and know their children better than the school board.”

The 51-page filing argues making children wear masks in school violates Florida’s constitution.

“A child has a fundamental, constitutional right to attend a free, uniform, public school,” Leduc said.

Leduc told us parents who don’t want their kids to wear masks and enroll in virtual or home school aren’t getting an equal education.

“One class of kids get one set of education if they wear a mask, but another set of kids gets a lesser education,” Leduc said.

“Give the parents the money that they need, so that they can seek education elsewhere,” Jacob Pruitt said.

We reached out to the district and a couple of the school board members, who said they did not want to comment on the lawsuit. The school board’s attorney did not respond to us about the lawsuit, either.