An Orange County school board voted Tuesday to sue Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom over the state’s mask mandate for school children.
California ordered in July that all students, teachers, and school administrators will be required to wear masks regardless of vaccination status on school property while indoors in the Fall, the Orange County Register reported. The Orange County Board of Education voted in favor of filing a lawsuit against the governor for the state’s mandates in a unanimous 4-0 decision at a special meeting to discuss litigation.
“He [Newsom] has now misused that power in a way that threatens serious harm to Orange County’s children,” the board wrote in a press release, according to the outlet.
Board President Mari Barke said that children are the board’s “top priority” and criticized Newsom’s mask requirement for having no “scientific basis,” the outlet reported. (RELATED: New Mexico Governor Threatens To Suspend School Board For Refusing Mask Mandate)
“Putting aside for the moment the lack of a sound medical or scientific basis for the Governor’s requirement to mask school children (who in general are neither at risk from COVID-19 nor likely to spread it), and also putting aside the lack of any thoughtful, well-considered and transparent balancing of the substantial hams of forced masking of juveniles against the purported benefits, the Governor and his state-level executive agencies do not have the power to continue the state of emergency indefinitely, and to continue to suspend the Administrative Procedure Act to circumvent normal agency rule making requirements,” the board said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidelines July 27 to recommend “universal indoor masking” for all students, teachers and staff regardless of vaccination status. Prior to the ruling, California had already rescinded the CDC’s May ruling by promising to ban all unmasked individuals from campus despite the CDC announcing that fully vaccinated people are not required to wear masks indoors.
The board previously argued that masks negatively impact a child’s capability to learn, particularly if they do not speak English or are of special needs, according to the Orange County Register. At least three other county school boards have asked the state to ease the mask mandates over the summer.
The board filed a former lawsuit against Newsom and his public health officer, Sonia Y. Angell, arguing that the state violated the right to equal access to education for shutting down schools during the state’s stay-at-home order due to the pandemic, the outlet reported. The California Supreme Court refused to hear the case on September 9, 2020.
Similarly, a Michigan federal appeals court heard a case on July 22 regarding a lawsuit brought forth by the Resurrection School, a Catholic school in Lansing that sued the state for implementing a mask mandate for students. The lawsuit argued that the order violates religious liberty by “covering God’s image” and disrupting a child’s ability to socialize with their peers.