Lawsuit to end Ann Arbor Public Schools mask mandate dismissed

ANN ARBOR, MI — Other parties to a lawsuit brought by parents seeking to end Ann Arbor Public Schools’ enforcement of its mask mandate have been dismissed.

AAPS and its Superintendent Jeanice Swift were fired from the trial in July, along with the Washtenaw County Health Department and its health officer Jimena Loveluck. The parties were rejected because their policies previously requiring masks inside classrooms were reversed and are currently moot.

Filed Feb. 28 in the 22nd Circuit Court for Washtenaw County, the lawsuit was originally brought by Chelsea School District parents on behalf of their children, as well as parent group Free America’s Children United, Inc. AAPS and Swift were added in March, with Henry alleging they had no legal authority to issue or enforce universal masking orders.

The Chelsea School District and its former superintendent, Julie Helber, were removed from the lawsuit in June, after settlement talks with terms that included CSD or Helber agreeing they would not issue any orders under the Health Code public.

The AAPS policy that required masks to be worn inside school buildings was adapted for summer programming in June to make universal masking optional indoors when Washtenaw County is at transmission levels. low or medium levels of CDC, while requiring masks indoors when transmission levels are high.

That policy remains in effect until Aug. 26, AAPS spokesman Andrew Cluley said, adding that the district had no comment on its dismissal of the lawsuit.

David Kallman, the attorney for the parents’ group that filed the lawsuit, said the lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, meaning that if AAPS were to reinstate a policy requiring the wearing of masks in school buildings, it would could offer to resubmit the case.

“With some recent Court of Appeal rulings around mootness and things like that, it was pretty clear that the case couldn’t proceed at this time because there’s no mask warrant in place. “Kallman said.

“As long as they don’t make a warrant, we have no dispute. That’s sort of been our position from the beginning. If parents want their child to wear a mask, or if they want to wear a mask or a teacher wants to wear masks, that’s fine. The mandate was the problem.

The lawsuit alleged that even though the county’s mask warrant expired on Feb. 28, the case was still necessary, “given that such an order is likely to be repeated and another order could be issued at any time.” time in the future”.

The lawsuit alleged that the health department’s mask ordinance caused students to be injured and disciplined or expelled from school and denied their constitutional and statutory right to a free public education if they did not wear masks. mask.

The lawsuit framed its arguments around the importance of the face and how it reveals “the distinctiveness of our person and personality.” The masks also make it harder to hear the voices of others, “another fundamental means of expressing intellectual, emotional, and/or spiritual concerns,” the lawsuit states.

The parents also alleged that the requirement to wear masks inhibits the goal of their desire “to instill a love of their Christian faith in their children in a multidisciplinary approach that permeates their faith in as many facets of the day of their children as possible”.

READ MORE:

Parent group lawsuit seeks lifting of Washtenaw County mask ordinance

Injunction seeking removal of Ann Arbor schools mask order denied

Mask, COVID quarantine orders for schools lifted by Washtenaw County

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