Arguments in cases brought by parents, teachers, against COVID mandates continue in Springfield courtroom

Sangamon County courtroom

Sangamon Judge Raylene Grischow, attorney Loretta Haggard representing the teachers unions and attorney Thomas DeVore made oral arguments Monday in Springfield. | Photo captured from Sangamon County Seventh District video

Arguments continue in cases brought by teachers challenging the governor’s vaccine mandates in schools and parents challenging mask and exclusion mandates on students.

Sangamon County Judge Raylene Grischow heard Monday in Springfield arguments from defendants to have a different judge oversee the teacher’s case. That case has dozens of teachers and school staffing suing 22 districts. The judge said the issue has been delayed long enough.

“We’ll run out of judges before it’s heard, and that causes a prejudicial effect to the plaintiffs,” Grischow said. “We’ve been dealing with this COVID issue. It needs to be decided and I’m going to deny the motion.”

Watch the YouTube video of the hearing here:

Attorney Thomas DeVore argued on behalf of parents and teachers in separate cases the issue is about individual due process rights to challenge quarantine orders. Attorney Loretta Haggard, representing the teachers’ unions attempting to intervene, said they have serious concerns if due process is allowed.

“If everyone who doesn’t feel like getting a vaccine or taking a nasal swab or saliva test decides to go and fight it and demand individual due process, that is going to break down the system,” Haggard said.

Later in the day, DeVore said due process must be upheld over other concerns.

“They’re trying to suspend what they know to be due process under the law because they’re worried about the practical realities of if people are afforded their due process rights. That’s really the issue,” DeVore argued in court. “You know what my response is to that, judge. The legislature can fix that.”

DeVore said the legislature could come back in a week and clear the issue up.

“But until then, we all deal with the law that is given to us, and if the practical matter is the law as it is written creates procedural complications for them, that’s not the people’s fault,” DeVore said.

Grischow took a motion for teachers’ unions to intervene in the case under advisement. She denied a similar motion Dec. 30 in the case of more than 700 parents suing around 140 schools. A hearing in that case is expected Wednesday.

The judge scheduled litigants in the teachers’ case to head back to court in a couple of weeks for continued hearings on various other issues in the case.

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