A group of parents filed a lawsuit against California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials in the state for refusing to open schools in 37 counties.
The Center For American Liberty announced Wednesday that they were adding new plaintiffs to the group of now 14 parents who are involved in the suit. The group cites testimony from 20 experts who say that opening schools is safe, challenging the governor’s claim that reopening is too dangerous during the coronavirus pandemic. (RELATED: Gov Newsom Rolls Back California Reopening Plans As COVID Cases Spike, Closes Bars And Restaurants)
Newsom’s coronavirus restrictions “have placed special interests ahead of the wellbeing of the children, and children’s fundamental right to receive a basic minimum education,” the complaint says. “The state’s exclusion from in-person schooling also contradicts the recommendations of experts from across the political spectrum and across numerous disciplines.”
“The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and countless scientific studies from around the world not only support, but advocate for in-person education for students during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Harmeet K. Dhillon, Center for American Liberty’s CEO and the lead counsel on the case.
“The Governor should rely heavily on science, but as our motion for preliminary injunction shows through expert testimony provided by Dr. Scott Atlas, Dr. Jayanta Bhattacharya, and numerous other leading experts in the field, the science does not support closing schools,” Dhillon added. (RELATED: ‘Schools Are About Public Health’: Dr. Marc Siegel Calls On California Governor To Open Public Schools)
Christine Ruiz, one of the named plaintiffs in the case, told the Daily Caller that her special needs children aren’t getting the education they need. 2 of her 3 sons, ages 13 and 15, have autism.
“Right now, no one is talking about special needs populations in our schools,” she said. “No one is talking about what these families are really going through.”
“We’re already isolated just because our children have special needs,” she added. “We don’t get invited to birthday parties, our kids don’t get invited for sleepovers.”
Ruiz said that she wants more options available for schooling, which is currently being done over Zoom. The online learning model doesn’t allow for the hands-on learning that her special needs children depend on, and is especially difficult for her 15-year-old who has ADHD as well as severe autism.
“Every single child has been affected by this, even if you’re a typical child,” Ruiz said. “But I think especially the special needs population because we are so dependent on the resources and the services from our school districts, our teachers, our aids, and so on … that we’re left devastated.”