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Venice chiropractor defends signing school mask exemption forms, as school board limits who can sign them

Venice chiropractor says he's helping students opt out of wearing a mask in school.
Venice chiropractor says he's helping students opt out of wearing a mask in school.(WWSB)
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 10:41 PM EDT
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VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) - Many say chiropractor Dr. Dan Busch is a hero to them, while others say he should have his license revoked.

Busch signed more than 100 medical exemptions for students on Monday who wish to opt-out of wearing a mask in Sarasota County schools. Sarasota is on a growing list of school districts that are again requiring students and staff to wear masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

But there are some who say Busch has overstepped his area of expertise. Busch disagrees.

“Every evaluation that I performed was very specific and I performed them in my scope of practice,” said Busch. “I had to stay very specific to the diagnoses that were in my wheelhouse, there are plenty that weren’t.”

However, on Tuesday afternoon, the superintendent of the Sarasota County School District announced schools would no longer accept opt-out forms signed by Busch or any other chiropractor. A notice to parents from Dr. Brennan Asplen said starting Wednesday, Sept. 1, the school district will only accept forms signed by licensed medical doctors, osteopathic physicians or advanced registered nurse practitioners.

“The School Board’s face mask policy mandates that students, employees, visitors, and vendors wear face masks unless they meet certain exceptions or qualify for legally-required accommodations,” Asplen’s letter said.

Busch defended his actions to ABC7 Tuesday afternoon. “I have not directly heard from the school district but I am more than happy to sit down with the school district,” said Busch. “I’m not trying to do something that’s shady, irrefutable, unethical. I’ll sit down, I would be happy to come to them.”

Busch says he turned away numerous people, however, he says he also helped many people in need of mask relief.

“What was so touching is that how many people actually broke down crying because they felt so helpless, and it hit me to have that opportunity to allow the parents to have a choice,” said Busch.

Before the school board’s announcement, Busch said another event could happen at his office this weekend, and might include medical doctors who want to help.

“We would hope that everybody would be ethical and do what’s necessary for the betterment of our community and our students,” Craig Maniglia, director of communications for the Sarasota County School District.

The School Board will now only accept the updated medical exception form, which you can find by clicking here.

“I hope each of you know that my number our priority is to keep your children safe so that they can continue to learn at the highest levels possible,” the letter stated. “I appreciate everyone’s understanding as we collectively work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our schools.”

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