JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Missouri Attorney General's Office has begun filing motions for temporary restraining orders in lawsuits against Columbia Public Schools and other school districts over mask mandates, according to a news release sent Monday.
The motions ask each court to issue a temporary restraining order and halt the mask mandate at each respective school.
“As I’ve said before, mask mandates are ineffective and illegal and lead to real, negative, and lasting psychological impacts on children and teens. Our fight against mask mandates in Missouri continues, and we will not stop until the power to make health decisions for children is pried from the hands of bureaucrats and placed back into the hands of parents,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “These motions for temporary restraining orders are just the first of many as school districts continue to run afoul of the law and enforce illegal mask mandates.”
The motion filed in the Columbia Public Schools lawsuit states, “… And if parents or schoolchildren believe a mask would be beneficial, the plaintiff’s requested relief does not prevent them from wearing one. Moreover, even if masks provide a benefit, that benefit is basically zero for schoolchildren. That is because COVID-19 does not pose a serious risk to children between the ages of 0 and 17.”
A CPS spokeswoman said the district won't comment on active lawsuits.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office filed suit against 45 school districts for continuing to enforce mask mandates, including Jefferson City School District. CPS and JC Schools are among those who reinstated mask mandates as the omicron wave swept through Missouri, pushing new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations to record levels and straining staffing.
This lawsuit is the second Schmitt has filed against CPS. He sued the district last year but dropped that lawsuit when the district dropped its previous mask mandate, which happened before the onset of omicron.
CPS has shot back at Schmitt over the latest lawsuit, saying the district was operating within its power to protect student and staff health and keep its doors open. The district also called Schmitt's lawsuits a waste of public resources.
The CPS mandate is in effect through Friday but the school board voted to allow the superintendent the ability to extend it through Feb. 14. JC Schools' mandate is tied to case levels in the district and will expire when cases fall below a certain threshold.
Schmitt is asking a judge to end the CPS mandate and force the school to post a note on its website and sign "on its building" noting the mandate has been stopped.