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In Illinois, hundreds of parents are suing more than 140 schools over mask mandates

Cases are being argued in two separate quart rooms this week.

Published: January 5, 2022 7:35pm

Updated: January 5, 2022 10:27pm

(The Center Square) -

The case with more than 700 parents suing more than 140 school districts over mask and exclusion policies implemented on school children continues.

Attorney Thomas DeVore argued a case Monday in Springfield on behalf of dozens of school staff challenging vaccine and mask mandates in schools as a violation of due process.

Wednesday, he argued similar issues on behalf of parents that students are being deprived of their due process rights by being required to mask or be excluded from school if they’re suspected of either having COVID-19 or being around a confirmed case.

Sangamon County Judge Raylene Grischow heard arguments about creating a class for all students of more than 140 school districts.

Representing the governor, attorney Thomas Verticchio said creating the class would diminish what he said was the majority of parents who want the mandates.

“These plaintiffs do not adequately represent this class of 800,000 students and 1.6 million to 1.8 million parents,” Verticchio argued.

Grischow took the issue of creating a class under advisement.

After a lunch break and before oral arguments on a temporary restraining order against the mandates, Grischow said she was being inundated with emails.

“They’re also calling and emailing my assistant and sending emails to her expressing their opinions on this case, so I felt I must disclose this to everyone,” she said.

Grischow said she will disregard the emails and will only rule on the law.

Representing the Chicago Public Schools, where teachers this week have refused to return to school even with masks in place, attorney Robert Swain issued a warning against a temporary restraining order.

“If your honor enters this TRO we can tell you that it’s going to be a much harder case for the Chicago board to make to members of the Chicago Teachers' Union to keep those buildings open,” Swain said.

Grischow read statute about due process rights in the face of defendants arguing for the mandates to be kept in place.

“How can you ignore that when this circulates back to the Illinois Administrative Code where their due process rights are outlined,” Grischow asked.

She reiterated DeVore’s argument that if masks were not mandated, parents could still voluntarily mask their children.

After hours of oral arguments on several motions, Grischow told litigants to prepare to come back. That could be weeks away. She said there could be a docket entry on the case before then.

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