A California judge declined an emergency injunction request from mask-choice advocates to block school mask mandates in K-12 public schools in the state on Thursday morning, CBS 8 reported.
The plaintiffs in the suit, Let Them Breathe and Reopen California Schools, filed their lawsuit against California in July. The groups believe that decisions about whether a child should wear a mask should be left up to parents, and they say the state’s mask requirement is “arbitrary, not based on scientific evidence, harmful to students, and impedes effective education,” according to a joint press release.
The judge also denied California’s request to delay the lawsuit’s next hearing until March, according to the press release. The lawsuit’s preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for Nov. 8.
“We know each day students are suffering behind masks, and parents’ concerns are mounting,” Sharon McKeeman, founder of Let Them Breathe, said in the press release. “However, we are thankful our legal team was able to minimize the State’s delay tactics and that the court set our hearing for November 8 instead of a date in March 2022, as suggested by the State. The State’s position confirms that it cares more about expanding its power than doing what is best for our children.”
The plaintiffs have been compiling evidence that shows school mandates are not necessary, Wendy Patrick, a legal analyst, told CBS 8.
“They have filed a very comprehensive lawsuit that contains some well-founded arguments that they’ve really collected from a lot of different places,” Patrick said. “Which includes the lower infection rates for kids, the importance of socialization at that age, and really a lot of information regarding the other kinds of public venues that kids are not required to wear a mask.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said they were “pleased” that the court agreed with their argument that blocking the universal mask requirement was “unwarranted at this time,” according to CBS 8.
“Our guidance is firmly grounded in science and has been a critical component of our efforts to support the safe return to in-person learning for all students this school year,” Newsom’s office said in a statement. “Recent studies confirm that schools with universal masking requirements are much less likely to experience outbreaks, confirming that masking is a critical strategy to keep students safe and schools open.”
“We remain focused on supporting schools to continue serving their students in person and will continue to defend these common-sense measures to keep students safe,” Newsom’s office added.
Let Them Breathe also launched an initiative called Let Them Choose, which plans to file a lawsuit against San Diego United School District for its student vaccine mandate, CBS 8 San Diego reported
“Let them breathe, let them choose,” said McKeeman. “We are for choice and we are in this to protect our students’ rights. No matter how long or difficult that legal battle may be.”