Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against school districts that have imposed mask mandates on students, seeking a declaration from the court that such requirements are unlawful.
“Mask mandates for kids in schools are not supported by the science and are an arbitrary and capricious measure. The cure should not be worse than the disease,” the lawsuit (pdf), filed in the Circuit Court of Boone County, states.
“The science shows that children are at a significantly lower risk of contracting a serious illness due to COVID-19 and that they do not generally spread the virus, even in school settings.”
The attorney general argues that mask mandates are unlawful because the officials which imposed them failed to consider the science and relevant data, rendering such requirements “arbitrary and capricious.”
“The Mask Mandate clearly fails the requirement of reasoned decision-making. It provides no discussion of how the mandate addresses the identified harms for students and the School Districts’ particular communities,” the complaint states. “The Mask Mandate therefore suggests that the Defendants failed to grapple at all with a large swath of relevant science, data, statistics, studies, or alternatives.”
The bulk of the complaint cites a battery of studies, data and news reports which show that children are less likely to spread the CCP virus and have an extremely low risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. The lawsuit also points to studies showing that masks impair learning, cause headaches, lead to “less happiness” and hinder verbal and non-verbal communication, among other negative impacts.
The lawsuit names one school district, the Columbia Public School District, but argues that other districts with mask mandates in place are similarly positioned and should be sanctioned as a class. The complaint lists 15 other school districts as an example.
“Columbia Public Schools is extremely disappointed to learn that the Missouri Attorney General has chosen to pursue litigation against the school district for providing safety measures for its scholars, teachers, and staff members,” Michelle Baumstark, the chief communications officer for Columbia Public Schools, said in an email to The Epoch Times.
“Numerous school districts across Missouri and across our country made the same safety decision based on what is needed in their communities during this period of time. The decisions made are based on guidance and recommendations from local, state and national health experts, including the CDC,” Baumstark added. “Columbia Public Schools intends to aggressively defend its decision to keep its community and its scholars safe.”
Schmitt, a Republican, is running for the U.S. Senate. The mask mandate debate is unfolding across the nation and is divided sharply along political lines. Republicans are generally resisting mask mandates, while Democrats are more likely to staunchly defend and promote such measures.
The battle over mask mandates in Florida has gained national attention, with the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis requiring school districts to allow parents to opt children out of mask-wearing. A number of school districts, all but one of which are Democrat-leaning, have defied the governor. Two of the districts now face the prospect of slowly bleeding funds equal to the salaries of the officials who imposed the mandates.
Source: The Epoch Times