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

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 6:05 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 24, 2021 at 6:39 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Parents who filed a motion to stop the Charleston County School District from enforcing a mask mandate are waiting to hear a judge’s ruling.

A judge heard arguments on the motion Thursday, which was filed by parents who have several children at schools in the district. The parents filed the motion this week seeking an emergency temporary injunction and restraining order against the district, which began enforcing the mask mandate earlier this week.

The motion argued the mandate violates a temporary law passed by legislators with the state budget earlier this year. That law, Proviso 1.108, was designed to prohibit school districts from using state funds to require that their students or employees wear face masks inside any district facilities.

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.

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 and asked the judge to block the district from enforcing the mandate until the legality of the proviso could be settled.

An affidavit from one set of parents claimed 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” because he did not wear a mask.

“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.

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