School Board Announces Plans To Sue California Governor Over Indoor Mask Mandate For K-12 Students

“The Governor and his executive agencies ... threaten to extend and compound the harm to California’s children previously caused by prior school closures and unwarranted masking requirements."
SANTA ANA, CA - MARCH 25: California Governor Gavin Newsom announces new eligibility during a press conference at a COVID-19 vaccination site at AltaMed in Santa Ana, CA, on Thursday, March 25, 2020.
Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

The Orange County Board of Education on Tuesday announced plans to sue California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom over the state’s indoor mask mandate for K-12 students attending public schools for the upcoming year.

The Orange County Register reported, “The board voted 4-0 during closed session in favor of filing the suit, and then had an attorney read a press release in which they said Newsom has abused his authority by indefinitely continuing to issue health edicts under a state of emergency.”

The release accused Newsom of refusing “to give up his emergency powers,” claiming “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,” it continued.

As The Daily Wire previously reported, California announced new state regulations last month prohibiting most students from entering public K-12 campuses if they do not wear face coverings inside buildings and classrooms, regardless of vaccination status.

“The Governor and his executive agencies, by emergency fiat that violates state constitutional and statutory law, threaten to extend and compound the harm to California’s children previously caused by prior school closures and unwarranted masking requirements,” the Board said.

“When necessary, the Board will fight to protect the health, safety, and welfare of our county’s kids at school. Unfortunately, with the Governor’s most recent action to force Orange County’s children, even those as young as 5 and 6 years old, to endure an academic year covering their faces for hours on end, the time to fight has come again.”

More details from The Register:

Board members Mari Barke, Tim Shaw, Lisa Sparks and Ken Williams voted in favor of filing the lawsuit during a special meeting Tuesday that featured only one item on the agenda: litigation. Board member Beckie Gomez, who attended the beginning of the meeting, left at 4:30 p.m and was not present for the vote.

Barke, the board president, said after the meeting that with schools about to reopen for the new academic year, “children are our top priority.”

In the past month, case rates across the state and locally have surged. On Aug. 2, Orange County reported an average of 626 new COVID-19 cases a day for the previous seven days, up from 72 new cases a day reported on July 2.

The Board approved the retention of pro bono legal counsel by Tyler & Bursch, LLP, and said the litigation would not incur legal fees passed on to taxpayers. Last August, the law firm also represented the Board when the body sued Newsom and the state’s public health officer seeking in-person learning. The lawsuit went straight to the California Supreme Court, but the Board’s petition to reopen campuses was denied.

Related: ‘Let Them Breathe’: Parents Sue California Governor Over COVID-19 Rules For Classrooms

Related: K-12 Schools ‘Must Exclude’ Unmasked Students From Campus, California Says

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