Parents sue Newsom over pandemic school closure order

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LOS ANGELES, CA (KCBS/KCAL) — Parents are suing Gov. Gavin Newsom for his order to close schools during the coronavirus pandemic.

Harmeet Dhillon, an attorney and the national committeewoman of the Republican National Committee for California, is leading the charge.

“This is tragic and it is also a betrayal of the taxpayers and the federal mandate to educate these children,” Dhillon said about Newsom’s order.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a group of parents who say they’re facing challenges with remote learning.

One of the plaintiffs, Christine Ruiz, said she’s struggling in particular with her son’s autism.

“To have him sit down at a computer for ten minutes, twenty minutes, whatever it is for the course work—it’s just not feasible,” Ruiz said. “He could regress back to a 2 or 3-year-old and that is devastating to all the progress that we’ve had throughout the years.”

The suit calls the governor’s order to close schools unconstitutional and argues that he is exceeding his authority.

Newsom announced his order on Friday, saying that schools will be permitted to reopen when it is safe.

“Parents should have the choice whether to take a reasonable risk and make the choice to send their child to school or condemn their child frankly to be behind for a year or longer in their lives,” Dhillon said.

Other parents, like Cynthia Carrasco, have championed Newsom’s order, calling it necessary as cases continue to rise nationwide and amid news that California is now the state with the most confirmed coronavirus cases.

“For me, the public health concern is very real, and for our family, we have a multi-generational household with grandparents and a little one under 2, that I just want to make sure that my student is going to be safe and at the least risk of harm,” Carrasco said.

The California Teachers Association, which is the largest teachers union in the state, and other unions have also called for campuses to remain closed for the upcoming school year.

Gov. Newsom’s office said it will defend the challenges in the lawsuit that claims he doesn’t have the authority to order school closures.

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