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District of Columbia, Mayor Sued Over School Mask Mandate – Legal Reader

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) recently sued the city of Washington D.C. and the mayor over the school mask mandate.
The mayor of the District of Columbia is under fire in a new lawsuit filed by parents upset that their children are still being forced to wear masks at religious schools. Despite the fact that people can attend concerts, sporting events, and other activities without having to wear masks, angry parents are pushing back, demanding that masks be optional in schools.

Brown wooden gavel; image by Rawpixel, via Unsplash.com.The suit was filed by Sheila Dugan and Matthew Johnson, two parents suing the mayor and the city on behalf of their children. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and is seeking “appropriate declaratory and injunctive relief to exercise their parental rights.” The parents are being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
When commenting on the suit, ADF stated:
“The lawsuit comes after ADF attorneys sent a letter last Monday to the director of the DC Department of Health requesting that the mayor and department officials lift the mask mandate for children, staff, and teachers at religious schools.”
The suit further states:
“Plaintiffs Sheila Dugan and Matthew Johnson exercise their Catholic faith by sending their children to a Catholic school and providing their children faith-based formation and education…They send their respective children to a Catholic school located in the District, which they have found to be the most suitable school given their children’s stage in life…Yet the Catholic school they have chosen for their children’s formation and education is subject to a mask mandate, even though a litany of comparable secular and religious activities—such as eating in a restaurant, working out at the gym, attending a concert, and sporting event, going to the movies, or attending Mass— are not subject to Defendants’ mask mandate.”
It’s important to note that Mayor Bowser’s mask mandate for bars, concert halls, sports arenas, and restaurants expired on February 14. However, she kept the school mask mandate in place. The suit claims:
“Defendants’ mandate requiring the children to wear masks in their Catholic school classrooms—while allowing children and adults to not wear masks nearly everywhere else—is arbitrary, unscientific, and irrational…Under Defendants’ policy, a child could sit for hours at the Wizards game at the crowded Capitol One Arena without wearing a mask, but she must cover her face for seven hours a day, the moment she steps into her Catholic school building.”
Additionally, the plaintiffs allege the city and mayor are “unconstitutionally burdening Catholic schools and treating them unequally.” The suit adds that the “prolonged mask mandate has had substantially detrimental effects on children’s Catholic formation and education,” and states:
“The masks—although they may seem trivial for most adults who only had to wear them for short periods time before and now do not even have to wear them almost anywhere in the District—impose a substantial and significant burden on the children’s religious education.”
In addition, the lawsuit notes that children in schools where masks are required “have to wear the masks for seven hours a day, causing the children to occasionally suffer headaches and occasional dizziness, difficulty breathing, and physical discomfort.” Many children also allegedly “have difficulty hearing and understanding their teachers and peers due to prolonged mask usage and face threatened or disciplinary actions by school staff over the masks,” according to the parents.
On top of that, the suit states:
“The children are not only missing out on the fullness of their religious education and formation but also have pleaded not to be sent to the school or have lost joy and interest in school…The prolonged mask use has caused difficulty in developing phonic, social, and emotional skills, which are not only critical to schools generally but also are indispensable to the whole point of a Catholic school, learning to communicate and embody God’s love for others.”
It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit shakes out. Across the country, parents from all walks of life are beginning to demand a return to normal for their children.
Sources:
‘Arbitrary, Unscientific, And Irrational’: D.C. Mayor Sued For Requiring Masks At Religious Schools, Not Bars, Concerts
Parents sue D.C. mayor for continuing to require masks at religious schools but not at bars

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