Two parents are suing Williamson County Schools and the school board over the district’s COVID-19 mask mandate.
The federal lawsuit which was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee specifically names Williamson County Schools Superintendent Jason Golden, the entire WCS School Board and Gary Anderson, who serves as the WCS Executive Director of Health and Safety.
According to the complaint, the plaintiffs are two parents who have filed the suit on behalf of their children.
The complaint alleges that masks don't actually prevent the spread of COVID-19 and have caused both physical and emotional distress to students following actions by the school district and the board that the plaintiffs argue are not within the authority of the educational bodies.
“The mere fact that we are approaching two years validates that masks are not effective," the complaint reads. "The health of our children is the parent's responsibility however the school board believes they can decide what's best for our child despite the fact that they do not, in fact, have the legal authority to do so."
The complaint also alleges that one of the children named as a plaintiff has experienced headaches and pimples from wearing a mask in school, and raises concerns about potential oxygen deprivation and potential negative impacts to their use of prescribed medication.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that masks are "perfectly safe and effective" for children over the age of 2.
"Masks are an important tool in preventing COVID's spread, especially as dangerous variants circulate among unvaccinated children," their website "healthychildren.org" reads. "They are safe and effective for anyone over 2 years old. Don't hesitate to talk with your child's pediatrician if you have any questions about your child wearing face masks."
Their "mask mythbusting" page cites circulated parents' concerns about children's breathing, lung development and the trapping of carbon dioxide inside masks, saying none of them hold water.
For breathing, the AAP says that oxygen gets through masks just fine and doesn't pose any sort of issues for lung capacity, nor will it affect learning in any way.
Lung development in children isn't at all affected while masking, says AAP, and carbon dioxide poisoning is of no concern when wearing a mask, as the gas exits freely through cloth masks since the droplets are so small. They cite surgeons using masks with ease during the day of work as proof they pose no threat whatsoever to a child wearing a mask.
Only children under the age of 2 are advised by AAP to avoid mask use because they are not able yet to remove them on their own, making those 3 and up perfectly able and safe to wear a mask in school.
The lawsuit in question alleges that other students have experienced psychological complications due to mask wearing in schools and it further alleges that students who have opted out of the mask mandate have been singled out by both students and teachers, and called the entire COVID-19 experience in Williamson County Schools "child abuse."
"Our kids are being controlled by fear of consequence of the slightest noncompliance," the complaint reads.
"Williamson County School Board and Superintendent Jason Golden have shown a blatant disregard for an overwhelming majority of parents who have rallied and spoken out to the school board for freedom of choice on mask mandates ... It has been stated to the board during public comment in board meetings that if they continue to mandate masks and impede Tennesseans Constitutional rights, they will face litigation. We will not co-parent with the school or government," the complaint reads.
The complaint specifically argues that the policy violates the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and Article 1, section 17 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee, and they are requesting the courts to remove the mask mandate and declare the policy unconstitutional in order to prevent the policy from being implemented again.