Parents threaten four school districts with lawsuits over mask, quarantine policies
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Parents from three local school districts, as well as Penta Career Center, are threatening lawsuits against the districts for what they have deemed unlawful quarantines and mask policies.
In letters sent to the districts and obtained by 13abc, Warner Mendenhall, the lawyer for all four sets of parents, alleges that the Springfield, Maumee, and Perrysburg school districts, as well as Penta, are in violation of state law following the passage of Senate Bill 22 last year. The law allows the Ohio General Assembly to cancel any orders issued by the state’s Department of Health and gives legislators the power to approve any further health orders.
According to the letters, the parents are arguing that, under current Ohio law, schools are permitted to send students and staff home if they are ill, but that they are not permitted to order them to quarantine. They say only the board of health can issue quarantine parameters.
The letters also argue that the districts do not have the authority to force students or staff to wear face masks in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. They say the masks are only authorized by the FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization and that the law only allows schools to require the use of items that are fully FDA approved. Additionally, they argue that the policy violates a state law protecting a person’s right to bodily autonomy.
The letters were addressed to the superintendents of all four schools or their legal representation and were sent on January 21st of this year. So far, no lawsuits have been filed against the districts, and the letters conclude by stating that the parents are willing to discuss the matter before filing.
A spokesperson for Springfield schools says that while they cannot comment directly on any legal matters, they remind the public that the district is transitioning back to a masks optional policy following the conclusion of the term on February 18.
Penta’s spokesperson said that the school does not currently have a mask mandate and that their quarantine procedures follow guidelines set by ODH and the CDC.
Maumee schools acknowledged that they were contacted by an attorney about the case and responded the same day.
The Perrysburg school district issued a statement saying the school “continued to make decisions it believes to be in the best interest of its students and staff. The district is looking forward to responding to the Northeast Ohio law firm.”
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