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Missouri Attorney General Files Lawsuits Against Three Dozen School Districts Over Mask Mandates

Missouri’s Attorney General has filed lawsuits against three dozen school districts that are “unlawfully” enforcing mask mandates.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed the litigation on January 21, arguing that the school districts “do not have the authority to impose” public health orders.

“School districts do not have the authority to impose, at their whim, public health orders for their schoolchildren. That is doubly true when the public health order, in this case, facemasks, creates a barrier to education that far outweighs any speculative benefit,” the lawsuit states. “Instead, school districts only have the power to issue those health rules that the General Assembly provides them—and the General Assembly did not give school districts the authority to condition in-person attendance on compliance with an arbitrary mask mandate.”

The lawsuit continued on to say that “the theory that mandatory masking in schools prevents the spread of COVID-19 by preventing the transmission of its causative agent, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has no empirical or rational basis and rejects basic principles of sound public health decisionmaking, medical science, and statistical analysis.”

“Indeed, far from providing any benefit, masking students imposes positive harms— physical, emotional, and developmental—on schoolchildren,” Schmitt’s complaint continued. “Since school districts lack the power to impose mask mandates, like the one at issue here, decisions about masking of children to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are reserved to parents, not to school districts. That follows from the fundamental truth that ‘[t]he child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.'”

Schmitt’s filing asserted that he “seeks to protect the welfare of Missouri’s children and the liberty and constitutional rights of the people of Missouri.”

The Attorney General was joined in the lawsuit by parents of children in the districts to “protect their children against the District’s unlawful mask mandate and to vindicate their rights as taxpayers,” according to the complaint.

The Daily Caller, who first obtained the lawsuit, reports that “the litigation was filed against some of Missouri’s largest school districts including St. Louis City School District, North Kansas City School District and Rockwood R-VI School District. The mask mandate in those three districts affects 62,802 students.”

School districts named in the suit include Francis Howell, Park Hill, Fort Zumwalt, Lee’s Summit, Holden, Affton, Liberty, Jefferson City, St. Charles, Kansas City, Waynesville, Hazlewood, Raytown, Kingsville, Rockwood, Hickman Mills, Ladue, Center, Dunklin R-V, Independence, Lindbergh, Grandview, Fox C-6, North Kansas City, Ferguson-Florissant, Maplewood, Clayton, St. Louis City, Parkway, Brentwood, Valley Park, Pattonville, Webster Groves, and Mehlville.

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