Missouri Attorney General Asks Court to Declare Mask Mandates Unlawful

By Ivan Pentchoukov
Ivan Pentchoukov
Ivan Pentchoukov
Ivan has reported for The Epoch Times on a variety of topics since 2011.
August 24, 2021 Updated: August 25, 2021

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit on Aug. 24 against school districts in the state that have imposed mask mandates on students, seeking a declaration from the courts that such requirements are unlawful.

“Mask mandates for kids in schools are not supported by the science and are an arbitrary and capricious measure. The cure should not be worse than the disease,” the lawsuit (pdf), filed in the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Boone County, Missouri, reads.

“The science shows that children are at a significantly lower risk of contracting a serious illness due to COVID-19 and that they do not generally spread the virus, even in school settings.”

Schmitt argued that mask mandates are unlawful because the officials that imposed them failed to consider the science and relevant data, rendering such requirements “arbitrary and capricious.”

“The Mask Mandate clearly fails the requirement of reasoned decision-making. It provides no discussion of how the mandate addresses the identified harms for students and the School Districts’ particular communities,” the complaint reads. “The Mask Mandate therefore suggests that the Defendants failed to grapple at all with a large swath of relevant science, data, statistics, studies, or alternatives.”

The bulk of the complaint cites a battery of studies, data, and news reports that show that children are less likely to spread the CCP virus and have an extremely low risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. The lawsuit also refers to studies showing that masks impair learning, cause headaches, lead to “less happiness,” and hinder verbal and non-verbal communication, among other negative impacts.

The lawsuit names one school district, the Columbia Public School District, but argues that other districts with mask mandates in place are similarly positioned and should be sanctioned as a class. The complaint lists 15 other school districts as an example.

“Columbia Public Schools is extremely disappointed to learn that the Missouri Attorney General has chosen to pursue litigation against the school district for providing safety measures for its scholars, teachers, and staff members,” Michelle Baumstark, the chief communications officer for Columbia Public Schools, said in an email to The Epoch Times.

“Numerous school districts across Missouri and across our country made the same safety decision based on what is needed in their communities during this period of time. The decisions made are based on guidance and recommendations from local, state, and national health experts, including the CDC. Columbia Public Schools intends to aggressively defend its decision to keep its community and its scholars safe.”

Schmitt, a Republican, is running for the U.S. Senate at a time when the mask mandate debate is unfolding across the nation and is divided sharply along political lines. Republicans are generally resisting mask mandates, while Democrats are more likely to staunchly defend and promote such measures.

The battle over mask mandates in Florida has gained national attention, with the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis requiring school districts to allow parents to opt children out of mask-wearing. A number of school districts, all but one of which are Democratic-leaning, have defied the governor. Two of those districts now face the prospect of slowly bleeding state funding equal to the salaries of the officials who imposed the mandates.

Ivan Pentchoukov
Ivan Pentchoukov
Ivan has reported for The Epoch Times on a variety of topics since 2011.