State Watch

Judge rejects Minnesota parents’ attempt to force statewide school mask mandate

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A Minnesota court judge has rejected state parents’ attempt to force a statewide school mask mandate. 

In a ruling on Tuesday, Ramsey County District Judge Thomas Gilligan mentioned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in saying that the parents’ lawsuit lacked the legal authority to order Gov. Tim Walz (D) to implement a new state order. 

“While this court is gravely concerned about the public health consequences of the failure of school districts to implement the guidance of the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health regarding use of masks for children, teachers and staff in K-12 public schools, the judiciary cannot order a co-equal branch of government to exercise its discretionary, political judgment to implement a specific educational policy,” Gilligan wrote in his order. 

State school districts can implement their own COVID-19 restrictions and mandates, with some requiring students to wear masks and others making mask-wearing optional, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

Marshall Tanick, an attorney who represented the Parents Advocating for Safe Schools (PASS), told the radio station that even with the ruling the case might not be over. 

“We knew this would be a difficult case, especially at the trial court level, but it’s an extremely important one,” Tanick told MPR. “And we are examining a number of alternatives, including the possibility of an accelerated or expedited appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court due to the urgency of this matter.”

An Iowa district judge on Tuesday halted Gov. Kim Reynolds’s (R) executive order banning state school districts from implementing mask mandates, The Associated Press reported.

The Hill has reached out to Walz’s office for comment.

Tags Face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic Mask Minnesota Parents Advocating for Safe Schools school mask mandates Tim Walz

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