COLUMBIA, Mo. – In his latest bout against mask mandates in Missouri, Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed suit on Tuesday against Columbia Public Schools and other district officials for implementing a mask mandate for schoolchildren and teachers.
The lawsuit names Columbia Public Schools, CPS Superintendent Brian Yearwood, the Board of Education and its board members as defendants.
“Forcing schoolchildren to mask all day in school flies in the face of science, especially given children’s low risk of severe illness and death and their low risk of transmission,” Schmitt said in a press release. “Additionally, forcing schoolchildren to mask all day could hinder critical development by eliminating facial cues and expressions.”
“We filed this suit today because we fundamentally don’t believe in forced masking, rather that parents and families should have the power to make decisions on masks, based on science and facts. I am committed to fighting back against this kind of government overreach. Americans are free people, not subjects.”
Arguing the mask mandate is “arbitrary and capricious”, the lawsuit claims that children are at an extremely low risk of developing severe health issues from COVID-19 and are at a low risk for spreading the disease. Therefore, the lawsuit argues that the masks “fail to provide adequate protection against COVID-19 in children, and that masks are detrimental to the development of young children.”
Schmitt has been passionately challenging mask mandates in court recently, citing individual liberty as a priority. After being granted a temporary halt on St. Louis County’s mask mandate earlier this month, a judge sealed the deal for Schmitt and definitively blocked the mandate on Thursday.
The Attorney General’s office also has a pending suit against Mayor of KC Quinton Lucas and other city health officials after the City Council voted to extend their mask mandate to Sept. 23. A similar case is pending in Jackson County after Schmitt filed suit against their recently extended mandate last week.