Advocacy group plans to sue state over K-12 schools indoor mask mandate

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO – The growing advocacy group Let Them Breathe are preparing to file a lawsuit against the state after public health officials announced last week that teachers and students in K-12 schools will be required to wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status.

State officials later reversed course, instead leaving it up to individual schools to enforce the rule. But some parents say they’re frustrated with the state’s stance on the issue.

“They’ve been through so much,” said Sharon McKeeman, founder of Let Them Breathe, “and it’s not just that we want to be able to see their smiles it’s that if we continue to mask them like this there may not be any smiles left.”

The group has been gaining traction for months, but especially since the state’s announcement Friday on masks in schools.

“We’re being backed by thousands of parents all across the state,” said Arie Spangler, mother and attorney with Let Them Breathe.

Spangler helped spearhead a lawsuit against the state last school year to reopen schools. Now she’s at it again, working on a lawsuit against the masks mandate for schools.

“I definitely think that we’re going to win it because it’s an inequitable mandate and it doesn’t go along with the science,” Spangler said.

She said the complaint will be filed in about a week. Once that’s done, she’ll ask the court for a temporary restraining order against the state pertaining to the mask rule for schools.

“If the judge issues that order then it would immediately take effect and the state would not be able to enforce a mask mandate for kids in school,” she said.

According to the state, the rule is in place because not all schools can provide enough space to keep students three feet apart. Officials say universal masking keeps students from feeling different or singled out.

Spangler said it does just the opposite.

“Both of my daughters just really feel like they’re being singled out as a kid,” she said.

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