California School Board Sues Gov. Newsom Over Mask Mandate

The Orange County, California Board of Education, is suing Governor Gavin Newsom over a statewide mask mandate for children and teens in grades K-12 this fall. The board says masks can be harmful to children and that the governor is abusing his power. Last year the board sued Newsom to reopen the schools, but the suit was unsuccessful.

KTLA reported, the board, in a closed session, voted 4-0 to file suit against the governor. They will reportedly argue that the emergency order on which the mandate is based should have ended long ago, rather than debating the efficacy of face masks for children.

The board’s attorney, Nada Higuera of Tyler & Bursch, LLP, told KTLA, “the emergency in itself is temporary; it can’t last 18 months and continue indefinitely. It’s not necessarily about the science, anyone can look at the full ballparks and concerts that are filling up and how can we maintain that there’s a state of emergency when everything is open?” The State Board of Education President, Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, who was appointed by Newsom, believes the lawsuit will fail, stating “this is an obvious way and a safe and effective way to keep children and adults in schools from transmitting the virus.”

Last month, California health officials announced that teachers and students would have to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, in a complete reversal of earlier guidance that vaccinated people did not need to wear masks. Higuera issued a statement saying that the rule “compounds the harm to California’s children previously caused by prior school closures and unwarranted masking requirements.”

She continued by accusing the governor of refusing “to give up his emergency powers” and that “he has now misused that power in a way that threatens serious harm to Orange County’s students. The board has approved this challenge to protect our kids, and to uphold the rule of law and our constitutional framework of government and separation of powers.”

The board acquired pro bono legal representation from Tyler & Bursch, LLP, who also represented the group in their unsuccessful suit against Newsom last year to reopen the schools. Newsom, currently facing a recall election, was also sued by two parent groups, “Let Them Breathe” and “Reopen California Schools,” to end the school mask mandates.


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