School board to sue Newsom over mask mandate

School board to sue Newsom over mask mandate

The board of education in Orange County, Calif., voted this week to sue Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomAlarm grows over smash-and-grab robberies amid holiday season Newsom pledges increased spending on busting retail crime rings The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud MORE (D) over his mask mandate for K-12 students in the state this academic year.

The Orange County Board of Education voted to pursue the legal challenge during a special session on Tuesday, arguing masks harm children. The board previously launched an unsuccessful legal bid against Newsom last year to have in-person schooling resume.

The school board asserted Tuesday that Newsom violated “constitutional and statutory law” with his mask mandate, calling it a burden that “compounds the harm to California’s children previously caused by prior school closures and unwarranted masking requirements.”

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The board asserted a "lack of a sound medical or scientific basis" for Newsom's order and said in a press release that it would retain counsel "on a pro bono basis" to launch the legal challenge.

The Los Angeles Times reported that board members did not present evidence to bolster their claims that masks are harmful to children. The board voted 4-0 to proceed with the legal challenge, according to the newspaper.

California Department of Public Health characterized the lawsuit as a distraction, telling the Times, “California’s COVID-19 prevention strategies are the best way to fully open our schools while protecting students and staff, and the state’s guidance fully aligns with the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics.”

“Our top priority and singular focus remains ensuring that the return to in-person learning for all students is successful this fall. These lawsuits are a disappointing distraction from a common goal — getting kids back into schools safely and limiting the spread of COVID-19,” the department added.

The Hill has reached out to Newsom's office for comment.

On Thursday, Education Secretary Miguel CardonaMiguel CardonaHillicon Valley — Immigrants being put in surveillance programs Senate Democrats urge government to do more to protect K-12 schools against hackers Democrats call on Education secretary to address 'stealthing' at federal level MORE called on state leaders to not "be the reason why schools are interrupted" when speaking on states where mask mandates for schools have been banned.