TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Department of Education has scheduled a meeting Friday to look at proposed rules that would allow parents to transfer their kids out of public schools that impose rules on masking.

This comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis passed an executive order barring school districts from passing mask mandates.

The proposed rules would allow parents to “transfer a child to a private school or another school district under a Hope Scholarship when a school district’s COVID-19 health protocols, including masking, pose a health or educational danger to their child.”

The Hope Scholarship was created to allow bullied students transfer schools.

Some private schools have taken a hard stance against mask mandates, making them an appealing choice for parents upset over the thought of their kids covering their face.

“We want to make sure to give parents the option and we want to err on the side of liberty and free will,” said Jana Sayler, Co-founder of the Tallahassee Classical School.

“There has been no difference between schools with mask mandates and no mask mandates,” said Dr. Alan Chen, board member at the Tallahassee Classical School.

8 On Your Side discovered that no public school districts have mandatory mask mandates in place in Tampa Bay. It’s all optional.

Democrats say the governor and education leaders are turning a health and safety matter and making it political.

“Every community is different, and the local communities and school boards should have the power to make the right decisions for their own communities,” said Nikki Fried, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture.

Another democrat taking issue with the proposed emergency rules is State Denator Shevrin Jones.

“The Hope scholarship was to be used for students who were being bullied in public schools, and now we are expanding this to be for parents who don’t want their kids to wear a mask,” Jones said in a tweet.

Even after the governor passed his executive order against mask mandates in schools, some districts have decided to ignore the governor’s orders. Broward, Duval, and Alachua County School districts have all imposed mask mandates for the beginning of the school year.

The meeting starts at 11am Friday morning.

The public will be allowed to provide input on the proposed rules via a conference call. That number is 1-800-367-2403; confirmation code 8000177.

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