The Chicago Journal

Seven School Boards in Virginia Filed Suit Against Governor Youngkin Over Mask Mandate

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

In Virginia, seven school boards have taken legal action to try and keep their mask mandates in its current position. The suit was disclosed on the same day that the executive order of Governor Glenn Youngkin on school masking was implemented. 

Schools districts included in the implementation are Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, and Prince William in Northern Virginia, also counting Richmond and Hampton. 

Youngkin was elected on a promise to enable parents to decide whether they want their children to wear masks at school, and he succeeded on his pledge with the first-day executive order, permitting guardians in their respective school districts to pull out from mask mandates. 

The school boards stated that the governor does not have control in the impositions of this kind of ordinance, hence transgressing the Virginia constitution, Virginian law, and administering “direct, immediate, and irremediable” harm, as presented in the legal action. 

In an interview, Prince William County School Board Chairman-At-Large Babur Lateef said, “Both the constitution and state law, we believe, supersede the governor’s executive order.” 

“The goal is not really to make a political statement here, it’s more for the continued operation of the school system with the least amount of disruption, with the highest priority being in-person learning,” he added. 

“The increased likelihood of severe illness or death by a student, school staff member, or member of either one’s families,” and also “the loss of in-person learning by students” who are obliged to quarantine following exposure to unmasked students or who are forced to stay home because of staffing scarcity are two of the harms potentially constituted by the mask-optional mandate of the governor, as per the legal action. 

The week before in Chesapeake, VA, a flock of 13 parents filed suit against the governor. The lawsuit put forth the same matter to those filed by the seven school boards. Thus, this is not the first complaint to be pinned on Younkin for the masking mandate.