Missouri AG sues nine more school districts over mask requirements

Eric Schmitt says power to make health decisions for children should be in the hands of parents, not bureaucrats.

Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:22pm

Missouri Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Monday filed lawsuits against nine public school districts with mask requirements.

Schmitt, a candidate for the seat of retiring U.S. Republican Senator Roy Blunt, filed suit against 36 school districts on Friday. Today’s districts being sued include the Kirkwood School District and the Special School District of St. Louis, both serving where Schmitt resides in Glendale, Mo.

“As we’ve made clear from the beginning, the power to make health decisions for their children should be in the hands of parents, not bureaucrats,” Schmitt said in a statement. “Today I’m filing nine more lawsuits against school districts that are illegally enforcing mask mandates on schoolchildren. Masking children all day in school is ineffective and these endless pandemic restrictions lead to lasting, negative psychological impacts on children and teens. This is a fight worth fighting, and I’m not going to back down.”

When Schmitt threatened lawsuits early last week, the leaders of public school district collaboratives on opposite sides of the state said Missouri law prohibits children with contagious diseases from attending school, and another allows school boards to adopt rules and regulations.

Sen. Doug Beck, D-St. Louis, introduced SB992 earlier this month to assist political subdivisions or school districts with court costs if they prevail in lawsuits filed by the Attorney General. In any civil action brought by the AG against a political subdivision, including school districts, the bill would require the court to award attorney’s fees, court costs and all other expenses incurred by the political subdivision or school district if the legal action is terminated in their favor. The bill states the fees must be paid from operating funds appropriated to the AG by the legislature and not from any other designated, statutory or administrative fund.

The districts sued on Monday are:

BaylessHancock PlaceJenningsKirkwoodLexingtonMeramec ValleyRitenourSpecial School District of St. LouisUniversity City.