(Natural News) Parents in New Jersey filed a lawsuit to block any Wuhan Coronavirus (COVID-19) mask mandates that might be imposed on public schools in the state next fall, saying that any such mandate would violate children’s first amendment rights.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Newark against Gov. Phil Murphy and the state’s Commissioners of Health and Education. It contends that a mask mandate would impede communication and learning in the classroom, and that it was imposed without due legal process.
According to attorney Bruce Afram, who represents parents as part of the group Free NJ kids, such a mandate would never be legal to begin with, as the governor’s emergency resolution bypassed the normal rule-making process.
“We have procedures in which agencies can issue orders if they hold hearings, if they have testimony showing the scientific need, if the public can cross-examine the experts, and if the public can testify,” Afram said. “Only then can these rules be created.”
School mask mandates cause anxiety, impede learning
There is currently no statewide mask mandate for New Jersey schools in the fall. Instead, Gov. Murphy has left the decision up to individual districts. That said, the Democratic governor has also left open the possibility that such a mandate could be reinstated, depending on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and the state of the pandemic when schools open.
In the suit, Afram argues that such a mask mandate will violate a right to free speech and a basic sense of personal privacy. (Related: New Jersey state senators argue mask mandate for children is NOT supported by science.)
“For children to be masked all day and to have their teachers masked all day prevents basic communication developing between children, and between children and teachers and staff,” he said. “It prevents children from developing communication skills.”
Kelly Ford, one of the parents who launched the anti-mask campaign at Free NJ Kids, also said that being forced to wear masks in classrooms impedes learning and stokes anxiety.
“We have situations where children have nosebleeds and they do not take off the mask for fear of getting in trouble,” said Ford. “We have a story of one parent whose daughter threw up in the mask, and did not remove it because she was afraid of getting in trouble.”
Ford also explains that her own son, who is on the autism spectrum, also has trouble communicating if he cannot see the other person’s face.
Another parent, Ryan Cody, questioned why school and schoolchildren, who are at the lowest risk of COVID-19 infection, are being singled out when other public venues are not.
“It’s just completely absurd that you can go to a bar, a restaurant, a sporting event, a concert, and you’ll be completely fine without a mask,” said Cody, whose son will be entering first grade in the fall. “But these little ones — who were always at the lowest risk for serious COVID infection start — still have to wear a mask.”
Mask mandates being challenged in court across the US
The New Jersey lawsuit is just one of the many suits being filed across the country in an effort to stop local and state governments from putting up mask mandates. But some of these suits, such as the ones in Connecticut and Tennessee, have proven to be unsuccessful.
Last May, a Hartford, CT, judge ruled in favor of Gov. Ned Lamont in a suit that challenged the constitutionality of mask mandate for schoolchildren.
In his ruling, Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher cited the state’s General Assembly vote earlier in May to expand the governor’s emergency powers. According to Moukawsher, this meant that Lamont’s actions have been “ratified as correct by both the co-equal branches of government.”
Meanwhile, in Tennessee, Judge Michael Binkley dismissed a lawsuit challenging public school mask mandates on narrow grounds. The Williamson County judge said that he remained “unconvinced” that the county’s board of education had the authority to enact or enforce such rules. Specifically, he stated that Gov. Bill Lee’s delegation of authority to impose mask mandates expired on Feb, 27.
Despite these setbacks, parents across the country, such as those in New Jersey, are continuing to question school mask mandates.
Follow Resist.news for more on how school mask mandates are being challenged across America.