The decision was due in part to a chiropractor who signed hundreds of medical forms exempting students from the mask mandate, a district official told CNN. Chiropractors are not medical doctors.
The school district has rejected about 650 medical exemption forms, the “majority” of which were signed by Dan Busch, a chiropractor at Twin Palms Chiropractic in Venice, it said.
“Every evaluation that I performed was very specific, and I performed them in my scope of practice,” Busch said last month. “I had to stay very specific to the diagnoses that were in my wheelhouse; there are plenty that weren’t.”
Busch’s lawyer on Tuesday told CNN Busch had no comment.
Asked a day later by CNN about the exemption forms and whether he had examined every child for whom he signed one, Busch said, “This wasn’t about me. This is about parents’ freedom.”
CNN later reached out to Busch’s lawyer who said Busch had no comment.
And the topic is red hot in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis has sparred with local officials who want to impose mask mandates in schools. DeSantis in July signed an executive order directing the state education and health departments to issue emergency rules that give parents the choice of whether their children wear masks in class. The state threatened to withhold funding from districts that violated DeSantis’ order.
Parents split on masks in schools
Before Sarasota County changed its mask policy, parents had lined up outside Busch’s office, awaiting his signature on their mask exemption forms.
Caitlyn Sparks was one parent who attempted to get an opt-out form signed by Busch.
Meanwhile, Jules Scholles, whose daughter is in kindergarten in Sarasota County, believes Busch’s behavior puts many people at risk, she told CNN.
“I think he’s not only putting students and children at risk, but he’s also putting the students and children that they go to school with at risk. And additionally the community here in Sarasota,” Scholles said.
“The point of masking is you wear your mask to protect me; I wear my mask to protect you. And so once we start kind of getting away from that, it really becomes a concern not only for the classroom, for the teachers, though. And then also for health care workers,” Scholles added.
CNN’s Kate Conerly and Anne Clifford contributed to this report.