Ruling expected on motion to block Charleston Co. Schools’ mask mandate

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 11:19 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2021 at 7:19 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A judge is expected to rule by Friday on a motion for an emergency temporary injunction and restraining order against the Charleston County School District’s mask mandate in the classroom.

The motion was filed Tuesday by parents of four children who attend Charleston County schools, according to court documents.

Court documents argue the South Carolina Supreme Court on Sept. 2 upheld the validity of a temporary law, Proviso 1.108, which state lawmakers passed with the budget, that forbids school districts from using state funds to require that its students or employees wear a facemask at any of its facilities.

The plaintiffs argue that the district’s ADD Mask Mandate Policy, which was passed by the Charleston County School Board and took effect this week, should not be allowed to stand because of the proviso.

The motion also cites South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson’s legal opinion, issued on Sept. 22, arguing the proviso was valid pending a challenge to the law’s “constitutional infirmity” in court.

Wilson previously said a similar mask mandate in Columbia violated state law.

Parents describe mandate’s impact on children

An affidavit from one set of parents states they do not consent to their children wearing a mask at school and says one of their children had to switch schools because he was forced to sit at the back of the classroom “segregated behind plexiglass on the first day of school.”

“He was forbidden to walk around freely and was only allowed to interact with his classmates from his plexiglass cell. He had a difficult time hearing the teacher speak and was very embarrassed,” the affidavit states. “All of this because he did not wear a mask.”

It also states the child has an individual education plan parents claim was not followed that day and that because he suffers from ADHD and auditory and speech challenges, he has always sat near the teacher so he can focus and process what he is hearing, something he was prevented from doing.

The affidavit alleges a teacher at the school, during an Aug. 17 meet-and-greet, refused the child and his parents’ entry into the classroom when they “politely refused to put on a mask.”

The parents say they do not consent to their children taking the COVID vaccines to attend school.

“Plaintiffs are being forced to choose between standing up for the rights granted to them to make the decision to have their children wear a mask or complying with the CCSD ADD Mask Policy so as to not prevent their children from obtaining an education,” the motion states.

The plaintiffs are asking a judge to order that the district be prevented from enforcing the mask mandate.

A judge heard arguments Thursday morning and a ruling was expected by Friday.

Several Charleston County students were sent home Wednesday because they did not wear masks. More than a dozen parents protested the move. All of the students who refused to wear a mask will now learn virtually until at least Oct. 15.

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