Missouri AG Schmitt sues dozens of schools over mask mandates

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Mo. Attorney General Eric Schmitt Photo by Missouri Times

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Just as he had promised earlier in the week, Attorney General Eric Schmitt unveiled a slate of lawsuits against Missouri schools Friday in an effort to halt their mask policies. 

“School districts do not have the authority to impose, at their whim, public health orders for their schoolchildren. That is doubly true when the public health order, in this case, facemasks, creates a barrier to education that far outweighs any speculative benefit,” one of the lawsuits said. “Instead, school districts only have the power to issue those health rules that the General Assembly provides them — and the General Assembly did not give school districts the authority to condition in-person attendance on compliance with an arbitrary mask mandate.” 

The lawsuits list parents as well as Schmitt as plaintiffs, according to the Attorney General’s Office. 

Late last year, Cole County Judge Daniel Green said the state’s health department regulations allowing Missouri’s health director and local health agencies to implement “control measures” were unconstitutional. The regulations allowed health directors to close schools or places of public assembly in the interest of protecting public health during the pandemic. The judge declared those orders void. 

Soon thereafter, Schmitt said school officials do not have the authority to implement mask, quarantine, or other public health edicts. In a letter to the districts, Schmitt said local public health agencies had been instructed to halt their COVID-19 orders following the Cole County ruling and told districts to “stop relying on, enforcing, or publicizing any such orders immediately.” 

Here’s are the districts the attorney general sued Friday. (The schools are listed in alphabetical order and will be updated throughout the day.)

Afton School District for its mask mandate in the 21st Judicial Circuit Court in St. Louis County. 

Columbia Public Schools for its mask mandate in the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Boone County. 

Fort Zumwalt School District for its mask mandate 11th Judicial Circuit Court in St. Charles County.

Francis Powell R-III School District for its mask mandate in the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in St. Charles County.

Holden R-III School District for its mask mandate in the 17th Judicial Circuit Court in Jackson County.

Lee’s Summit R-VI School District for its mask mandate in the 16th Judicial Circuit Court in Jackson County. 

Park Hill School District for its mask mandate in the 6th Judicial Circuit Court in Platte County. 

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