This lawsuit comes hot on the heels of a series of other lawsuits filed against school districts, including one against the Hollis/Brookline School District (School Administrative Unit #41), a second one against the Bedford School District (School Administrative Unit #25) in late May, the third one against Londonderry, Epping, and Timberlane School Districts in July, a fourth one against the Exeter School District, a fifth against the Merrimack Valley School District, and a sixth one, on Sept. 7, against the Bedford School District (again) for violating the New Hampshire Right-to-Know law in deciding to order the universal masking of one of its elementary schools.
Similar to the earlier-filed lawsuits, we filed this one on behalf of a large group of parents and their children attending the Diocese’s schools and are challenging the requirement that students wear face masks or coverings while in school. This lawsuit primarily alleges that the Diocese violated a new Florida law — the Parents’ Bill of Rights — because it infringes on parents’ rights to make health care decisions for their children.
Similar to the first action we filed on behalf of Mary Rivard last year, the action we filed last year challenging the City of Nashua’s face mask ordinance, and the action we filed challenging Governor Sununu’s closure of New Hampshire schools, this new lawsuit includes a motion for a temporary injunction against the adoption of the Diocese’s policy requiring students to wear face masks or coverings in all of its schools. The motion can be found here.
The lawsuit also alleges that wearing a mask breaches the contractual relationship between Plaintiffs and the Diocese and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in that relationship. It also alleges that wearing a mask harms children by restricting their oxygen levels and increasing their carbon dioxide levels, thus making it difficult for them to breathe. The problems associated with the mask mandate have also caused the children to suffer anxiety and stress and experience light headedness, high blood pressure, trouble concentrating, and headaches. Some of the Plaintiffs’ children have also complained of skin irritation, acne, and other skin problems caused by the masks. In one instance, one of the Plaintiffs’ children has had to be prescribed a steroid cream and antibiotics to address these issues. The masks have also been a distraction, preventing the Plaintiffs’ children from listening to teachers’ instructions and interactions, inhibiting social interaction, and causing a feeling of disconnect from friends, teachers, and other staff members.
We are seeking an injunction restraining the Diocese from enforcing its face mask mandate and from extending that mandate for the rest of the 2021-2022 school year so that children can continue attending school in-person without the burden of wearing a face mask.