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Boone County court hears motions to dismiss mask mandate lawsuit against Columbia Public Schools


Lawyers for Columbia Public Schools argued for two motions to dismiss the attorney general's lawsuit against the district's mask mandate.

Columbia Public Schools is one of only three districts to still have a case open against it for mask mandates. Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed 46 lawsuits in January.  The other two are University City School District and Lee's Summit R-7 School District. None of the school districts responded to ABC 17's request for comment.

The first of two motions to dismiss the case argues the court would only be issuing an advisory opinion since the school district dropped the mask mandate, which Columbia Public Schools' lawyer says is beyond the power of the court. Columbia Public Schools dropped its mask mandate in February, on the same day as the previous hearing in the case. The lawyer also argued the school district already had that end date scheduled when the attorney general scheduled that hearing.

A lawyer for Schmitt's office responded by arguing that some members of the Columbia Board of Education have spoken out publically about supporting mask mandates, which leads him to believe the district could reimplement one. The lawyer cited an ABC 17 interview with Blake Willoughby.

The attorney general's office said the school district is not addressing the three parents named on the lawsuit, which is ignoring 75% of the plaintiffs.

The second motion to dismiss the case argues that the parents named in the case as plaintiffs do not have a personal interest in the case, only their children do. Columbia Public Schools argues its job is to educate and protect children, not their parents.

The judge will not make a ruling today.

The attorney general's office said it will hold off on commenting until a ruling has been made.

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


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