Can Schools Force Students To Wear Masks? “NO WAY!” Say Jersey Shore Students
As the first “post-pandemic” summer flies by, the anticipation for students to head back to school equally ramps up.
Normally, the anxieties of preparing for a new school year include, what to wear, school supplies, being bullied, even weight changes and the development of acne cause high levels of stress. Don’t I know?!
This year, there was added stress. Covid19 created multi-layers of pressure. Learning had to be done from home.
The traditional “in-person” classroom was replaced with a laptop and the kitchen table. Social distancing rules prevented students from spending time with their classmates or friends. School sports were canceled.
More time was spent in chat rooms and social media. That alone presented additional challenges, as many of those outlets displayed information that may or may not have been accurate about vaccines and the risk of transferring the virus to those they love.
Safety is always important, but some students in New Jersey say the decision Governor Murphy proposed to allow individual school districts to initiate their own mask mandate rules, despite the state's mandate being lifted, is unconstitutional. So much so that they have filed a federal lawsuit.
The argument is simple, according to the lawsuit filed on July 7,
“Mandatory wearing of masks by schoolchildren burdens and impairs protected speech rights, inhibiting and preventing communication between students, and between students, teachers, and aides.”
The lawsuit has the signatures of 20 students. A majority of them are from West Orange, Mahwah, Edison, and Old Bridge. The others are from Barnegat, Jackson, Ocean, and Middletown. Their goal is to prevent school districts from instituting their own mask mandates and forcing students to take a covid19 test without approval from parents or legal guardians.
Attorney Bruce Afran, who took on the case, agrees with the students and their parents. He says the individual mandates are violations of the First, Fifth, and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.
During a press conference, Afran said,
“All day long, repeatedly teachers are telling children to keep masks up, put it back on your nose, children are constantly disciplined verbally. It fundamentally destroys the education environment and fundamentally violates the right of privacy of children.”
It’s important to note, almost all of the 20 students, are under the age of 18 and are being represented by their parents, who seem to be all-in. A “go-fund-me” page was created to spread the word and help raise money for the suit. There is even a designated website as well.
It will be interesting to see if the lawsuit holds water. Here is where you can find the lawsuit.