By Chrissy Clark
Missouri’s Attorney General filed lawsuits against 36 school districts that he claims are “unlawfully” enforcing mask mandates on faculty, staff and students, according to litigation obtained by the Daily Caller.
Attorney General Eric Schmitt argued in litigation filed on Jan. 21 that individual school districts “do not have the authority to impose” public health orders on students. School districts “only have the power to issue those health rules that the General Assembly provides them,” according to the AG’s lawsuit against the districts.
“The General Assembly did not give school districts that authority to condition in-person attendance on compliance with an arbitrary mask mandate,” Schmitt said.
On Nov. 24, a Cole County Circuit Court judge ruled that mask mandates violate Missouri’s Constitution and its separation of powers clause, according to FOX 4. Schmitt began pressing school districts to remove mask mandates after the ruling, though he was met with pushback from district officials.
BREAKING: The Missouri Attorney General's Office filed suit against the Francis Howell R-III School District to halt the unlawful mask mandate in their school district. https://t.co/4j6CKZcu21 pic.twitter.com/l5dutcfdDF
— Attorney General Eric Schmitt (@AGEricSchmitt) January 21, 2022
The litigation was filed against some of Missouri’s largest school districts including St. Louis City School District, North Kansas City School District and Rockwood R-VI School District. The mask mandate in those three districts affects 62,802 students.
The AG’s office filed litigation against the following districts:
- Francis Howell
- Park Hill
- Fort Zumwalt
- Lee’s Summit
- Jefferson City
- St. Charles
- Kansas City
- Hickman Mills
- Dunklin R-V
- Fox C-6
- North Kansas City
- St. Louis City
- Valley Park
- Webster Groves
School districts pushing back against the removal of mask mandates are not specific to Missouri. On Jan. 15, Virginia’s newly-inaugurated Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin repealed the state’s mask mandate in schools. Multiple school districts promised to violate the governor’s orders and continue to implement mandates. (RELATED: Northern Virginia School Districts Go To War With Youngkin Over Repeal Of Mask Mandates)
Youngkin told a WTOP reporter that he “will use every resource within the governor’s authority, to explore what we can do and will do in order to make sure that parents’ rights are protected.”
While Republican state politicians are pressing to remove school mask mandates, the Biden administration threatened to revoke federal COVID-19 aid from states that discourage the use of mask mandates. The Biden administration threatened to revoke federal funding in Arizona over a program that allows schools that do not enforce mask requirements to receive funds, according to CNBC.