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Education

Parents from 145 Illinois school districts file a class-action lawsuit over mask and quarantines

Parents and Speak for Students members rally July 26, 2021, outside Silver Creek Elementary in Troy, Illinois, ahead of a Triad Unit 2 School Board meeting. On Wednesday, parents from 145 Illinois school districts filed a class-action lawsuit over mask requirements.
File Photo / Derik Holtmann
/
Belleville News-Democrat
Parents and Speak for Students members rally on July 26 outside Silver Creek Elementary in Troy, Illinois, ahead of a Triad Unit 2 School Board meeting. On Wednesday, parents from 145 Illinois school districts filed a class-action lawsuit over mask requirements.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published by the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

Parents from 145 Illinois school districts filed a class-action lawsuit Wednesday against their respective districts, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, State Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala and Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health Dr. Ngozi Ezike over COVID-19 mask requirements and school exclusions.

Metro-east districts named as defendants in the lawsuit include: Collinsville CUSD 10, Highland CUSD 5, Waterloo CUSD 5, Bond County CUSD 2, Edwardsville CUSD 7, Triad CUSD 2, Wesclin CUSD 3, Columbia CUSD 4, Mascoutah CUSD 19, Red Bud CUSD 132, and Carlyle CUSD 1.

Pritzker announced an executive order in August requiring masks in Illinois schools for teachers, students, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

Many school districts saw protests from parents over the summer around mask mandates, both before and after Pritzker’s executive order. While large, organized demonstrations have become less common further into the school year, some parents are still regularly attending school board meetings to advocate against the mask mandate during public comment.

Tom DeVore, the Bond County attorney attached to the lawsuit, has prolifically filed lawsuits around the state related to executive orders made during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In several school districts, DeVore has secured temporary restraining orders for students against their school districts, meaning they could attend school without a mask. Many of the parents who already received temporary restraining orders for their children, including parents in Bond 2 and Carlyle 1, are listed again on the class-action lawsuit.

The temporary restraining orders were limited to 30 days before an extension would need to be filed to continue school without masks.

Two of the metro-east school districts named as defendants, Red Bud CUSD 132 and Carlyle CUSD 1, already defied Pritzker’s executive order at the beginning of the school year. ISBE sent both districts — and dozens of others around the state — letters indicating they were being put on probation for noncompliance; Red Bud and Carlyle changed course to require masks and follow the state mandate.

The hearing is set for Nov. 5 at 1:30 p.m. in Macoupin County.

https://www.scribd.com/document/534017417/Copy-of-lawsuit-from-Illinois-parents

Megan Valley is a reporter with the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

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