(The Center Square) – Missouri Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Wednesday urged Missourians to report any public school district with a mask mandate, quarantines or other COVID-19 health requirements to his office for investigation.
On Tuesday, Schmitt sent a letter to all public school districts and local public health agencies threatening legal action if they don’t follow a Cole County Circuit Court order declaring all mask mandates, quarantines and other health orders null and void. On Nov. 23, Judge Daniel Green ruled the orders of health departments and school districts violated the Missouri Constitution. Many media outlets throughout the state reported Gov. Mike Parson’s office stated the ruling wouldn’t be in effect until Dec. 22 to comply with a 30-day window to appeal the ruling.
Schmitt, a candidate for the seat of retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, announced in a news release the creation of an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, and a system to “empower parents and give them the ability to voice concerns with continued mandates and quarantine orders in their local school district. Parents are encouraged to email that address with their concerns, photos, videos, documents and other supporting information, and a representative from the Attorney General’s Office will review those concerns and documentation and investigate further wherever possible.”
Schmitt’s news release stated his office received messages from parents concerning mask mandates and quarantine orders still in effect and in violation of Judge Green’s order.
“Parents are sick and tired of stonewalling from their school districts, and so am I,” Schmitt said in the statement.
Paul Ziegler, the chief executive officer of EducationPlus, a collaborative of 60 public school districts in St. Louis, said one of Missouri’s strengths is its local control of public schools. He said proper school board leadership was evident from the start of the pandemic.
“Ingrained in the fabric of Missouri is this idea of local school boards controlling local school districts,” Ziegler said in an interview with The Center Square on Tuesday. “Whether it’s dress codes, discipline policies or curriculum, they’ve had the ability to promulgate rules and do positive things in schools forever. So I don’t think anything in the ruling in from Judge Green changes that. And I think school boards will continue to be that connection to the community and make good decisions.
“Collectively, school boards are the largest elected body in the state. I think they’ll continue to look for ways to keep kids in school and keep them safe. That will probably look different from county to county and district to district.”