Congressional candidate to file lawsuit against DeSantis over school mask mandates ban


BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Rev. Elvin Dowling, a father of three school-aged children, who is hoping to succeed the late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings to represent Florida’s 20th Congressional District, is filing a lawsuit Friday morning against Gov. Ron DeSantis and the State of Florida over the governor’s executive order banning mask mandates in Florida’s public schools.

Citing Article 9, Section 1 of the Florida Constitution which states, “Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education and for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of institutions of higher learning and other public education programs that the needs of the people may require,” Dowling is arguing that his children will be placed in harm’s way if DeSantis’ edict is followed and says the governor’s threats to defund public schools that still require masks be worn by students and staff members would subject his kids to “unfair and inferior conditions.”

“As a concerned parent for not just my three kids, but for all of Florida’s public school children, I am alarmed by the increasing rates of COVID-19 infections in our state, while our feckless Governor twiddles his fingers, runs his mouth, and thumbs his nose at science,” Dowling said in a statement Friday. “Requiring masks at school will protect our children. Currying favor with narrow political interests will not.”

Dowling is being represented by civil rights attorney and former Florida State Representative, the Rabbi Barry Silver.

He previously filed a federal lawsuit against the governor in April, arguing that DeSantis violated the 1st, 14th and 15th amendment rights of nearly 800,000 Palm Beach and Broward County residents by failing to call an election to fill the congressional seat vacated by Hastings, who died on April 6.

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Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for