A lawsuit has been filed against the Placenta-Yorba Linda Unified School District for allegedly engaging in “isolation and discrimination” against a high school student for wearing a mesh face mask.
The student, junior Aidan Palicke, says that he wore a mesh face mask for two years without any issues — but was suddenly kicked out of his school and forced into a home-based study program.
Additionally, the lawsuit alleges, Palicke was forced to take his final exams at a desk outside by himself in 40 degree weather.
The complaint was filed with the help of the California chapter of the Children’s Health Defense, a non-profit organization founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
“For two and a half hours, he endured the cold conditions that caused numbness in his hands and concentration issues. He felt shame and humiliation as students were staring at him from the inside. The teacher came outside to check on him and offered an old dirty blanket, but never once showed remorse or sympathy for the inhumane treatment,” CHD said in a press release about the case. “Aidan was clearly being made an example.”
In order to take his math final, Palicke says that he had to sit outdoors for a total of five hours in just a t-shirt, while “shielding the humiliating states from fellow students.”
The teenager said that he was mocked for having to take the tests outside and told by people that he considered to be friends that he should have just caved and worn the mask that the school offered to provide.
“My closest friends making fun of me, calling me names, hurt the most,” Palicke said.
Chris Palicke, Aidan’s father, has wondered if the school suddenly decided to start punishing his son over the mask as retaliation for his own active involvement in school board meetings, where he loudly opposed COVID-19 lockdowns, masks, and other issues including Critical Race Theory.
While speaking at a recent event hosted by CHD for students who oppose mask mandates, Palicke was asked, “How are you able to stand up, to stay strong and keep going?”
“I know this is bad, but I am 16, so when I can’t breathe or when I am struggling I know how to take the mask off and I can deal with the consequences because I am old enough. But you know who isn’t old enough? The five-year-olds, the six and seven-year-olds, who are being forced to comply, and are being taught they have to listen to their teachers. These kids are struggling, they are more afraid of taking their mask off and getting in trouble than they are of not being able to breathe,” the high school student explained. “This is truly what this fight is about….getting masks off these kids that no one else is protecting.”
According to CHD, The Placenta Yorba Linda Unified School District “abused the education code and termed Aiden ‘a clear and present danger.’ They removed him fraudulently on these provisions. Educational codes do not allow schools to remove students for defiance. Placenta-Yorba Linda Unified School District had to PROVE that Aiden was a clear and present danger. They could not, because he was not.”
The Orange County Register reports, “the lawsuit argues that school officials violated various education codes and constitutional rights while inflicting emotional distress. The lawsuit seeks, among other things, a court order barring the district from suspending or expelling students from in-person instruction for failing to comply with mask policy.”
The mask mandate in California schools was lifted on March 12, but Palicke will not be returning to the school in the fall due to the bullying and pressure he has already faced there.
Another case of COVID-19 related bullying ended in tragedy earlier this year.
On January 13, a 15-year-old boy in Illinois committed suicide after relentless harassment over false claims that he was “unvaccinated.”
Robert and Rosellene Bronstein, the boy’s parents, have filed a lawsuit against the Latin School of Chicago alleging that school officials failed to do anything to stop the bullying, despite numerous complaints from them and their son.
According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, the lawsuit names the school, a number of employees and parents of the alleged bullies.
“A student at the school, whose parents are named in the suit, spread a false rumor that the boy was unvaccinated, the suit alleges. Though he was vaccinated, the boy was harassed about his perceived vaccination status,” the suit says, per the report.
The parents allege that even teachers joined in to torment him.
“He was told by a teacher in front of a class that he was going ‘nowhere in life,’ the suit alleges, and was cyberbullied in a group text message thread by members of the junior varsity basketball team and on the social media app Snapchat. A Snapchat message circulated around the school said of the boy: ‘Ur a terrible person,'” the report says. “On Dec. 13, a student sent a Snapchat message to the boy encouraging him to kill himself, the suit alleges.”
In a statement obtained by the Tribune, the school said that the claims in the lawsuit are unfounded, and though it “deeply grieves” the death of the student, it plans to “vigorously defend itself.”
“The allegations of wrongdoing by the school officials are inaccurate and misplaced,” the statement read. “The school’s faculty and staff are compassionate people who put students’ interests first, as they did in this instance.”