SARASOTA — A group of people opposed to a mask requirement in Sarasota County Schools has started a GoFundMe and quickly surpassed its fundraising goal of $11,000 for a legal battle against the district.
Amy Cook started the page, and received more than 180 donations in two-and-a-half weeks. The name of the site is “Lawsuit to END Mask Mandate in Sarasota Co.” on GoFundMe, an internet fundraising site.
According to the page’s description, “It is not the role nor responsibility of the public school district to make medical decisions for all families universally. Each family has the right and freedom to make medical decisions independently.
“We are taking action to have the mask mandate decision reversed immediately for the physical, emotional and social well-being of our children.”
The intent of the lawsuit is to reverse the mask mandate within the school district, making it optional for families.
A page update states the intention of filing the lawsuit before Oct. 20, when the board will meet to continue the discussion about masks.
The school board first introduced its mandatory mask policy on Aug. 4 as an emergency policy, which by law is only effective for 90 days. The policy made masks mandatory for all students, staff and visitors of district sites, unless they had a mask exemption from their doctor. In that case, they would have the option to wear a face shield, unless they had a second exemption from their doctor.
During the board’s Sept. 15 meeting, school leaders heard from several concerned parents who insisted the board discontinue the mask policy.
The board unanimously decided to continue it.
The mask mandate has been a point of contention at meetings. At the Oct. 6 board meeting, dozens of people on both sides of the issue spoke during the public input time, even though the issue was not on the agenda.