Parents suing school districts over mask mandates speak

On Monday, Missouri's Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced he's asking a judge to halt some school districts from enforcing mask mandates. He wants a judge t
Updated: Jan. 31, 2022 at 9:36 AM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - On Monday, Missouri’s Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced he’s asking a judge to halt some school districts from enforcing mask mandates. He wants a judge to enact Temporary Restraining Orders against several districts across the state.

For weeks now, we’ve been asking those parents who are suing to talk with us about why they feel the need to take this approach. Two parents, who are plaintiffs on two separate Attorney General lawsuits said it was their only option.

“I think it’s enough with the mandates for me, and that’s where I was kind of on board with that,” Erickah Crawford said.

Crawford has several kids in the Hazelwood School District. She said after two years of hefty COVID-19 mitigations, she’s changing course on how to approach the district.

“I think it’s time for us to get that freedom back,” Crawford said.

Rockwood School District parent Rachel Wood is doing the same.

“We were hopeful that the mask mandates in Rockwood would also drop, but when that didn’t happen and the Attorney General said we should report school districts that weren’t complying, I decided to do that,” Wood explained.

Both Wood and Crawford are co-plaintiffs with Schmitt suing for what they believe are illegal mandates.

“I don’t co-parent with the school district on the health decisions for my kids,” Crawford said.

While Wood echoed, “I think every parent and family should be able to choose what’s right for their own kids.”

St. Louis Attorney Mark Milton is also joining the fight, for free. He represents dozens of parents who are suing schools across the St. Louis area.

“I think these parents should have the right to choose whether or not their kids are forced to wear masks. I’m not anti-mask. If you wanna put your kid in a mask, you have the right to do so,” Milton explained.

Milton’s helping to sue 18 districts across St. Louis. Those districts include: Affton, Clayton, Dunklin R-5, Ferguson-Florissant, Fort Zumwalt, Fox C-6, Francis Howell, Hazelwood, Ladue, Lindbergh, Mehlville, Parkway, Pattonville, Rockwood, St. Charles, Valley Park, Webster Groves, and Wentzville.

“Between the three of my boys, all three of them have come home with different stories talking about teachers basically harassing them. Even at recess, our schools are required to keep them on outside. They don’t really have an opportunity to have fresh air. When policies are in place that just don’t make sense, it’s very hard for me to justify keeping my boys in the school system,” Crawford said.

Masking has become a divisive issue with many wanting it and many wanting choice. It is a fact that the Missouri Attorney General is running for the US Senate. We asked these mothers if they believe he’s using this issue for political gain.

“I think we do need this fight for our kids, so I wouldn’t say he’s using it to gain any type of advantage into his Senate seat,” Crawford said.

Wood said she agrees and believes Schmitt is taking on these lawsuits with the students’ best interest in mind.

“I think he’s doing so much good to protect rights of Missourians. I wish he would stay Attorney General or run for governor,” Wood said.

We reached out to both Hazelwood and Rockwood schools for a comment on this pending litigation. Hazelwood Schools deferred us to EdPlus. We called and left a voicemail with them and never heard back.

Rockwood Schools tell us they haven’t been served a lawsuit despite it being filed on Casenet. Administrators also tell us the schools’ attorneys have assured them they are can implement policies such as mask mandates.