These Rhode Island Parents Just Sued the Governor Over His Mask Mandate in Schools

Concerned parents in Rhode Island say that Governor Daniel McKee has overreached his power by signing executive orders to declare a “Delta Variant” emergency and a mandate that children wear masks in school. A group of them called Parents United filed a lawsuit last week, asking the court to block the current executive order and any further orders related to COVID-19.

Each of the parents explained how wearing masks all day negatively affected their children, with some complaining about how difficult it is to breath. Children complained of being tired when they returned home, and parents are concerned about elevated carbon dioxide levels.

The plaintiffs noted that former Governor Gina Raimondo declared a state of emergency in March 2020, and between that time and July 2, 2021, she and her successor, Gov. McKee, issued 178 executive orders related to COVID-19.

On July 6, 2021, the legislature put a stop to it, barring the governor from issuing anymore executive orders related to COVID. Gov. McKee terminated all outstanding orders related to the pandemic.

When schools re-opened last September, the Rhode Island Department of Education required local schools to adopt a re-opening plan. Mask mandates were a local concern. Many schools strongly recommended masks but didn’t require them. The governor lifted mask mandates on businesses. But last month, despite a law barring him from issuing COVID-related executive orders, Gov. McKee issued two. He cited the Delta variant to justify mandating masks in schools.

In the complaint (PDF), the plaintiffs contend that his “attempt to classify the ‘Delta Variant’ as a new pandemic or disaster emergency is not supported by the facts or science.”

Photo credit: Alliance for Excellent Education (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

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