Elmbrook Schools parent files lawsuit against district mask policy

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BROOKFIELD, Wis (CBS 58) -- Elmbrook parents are split on whether the district should require students to wear masks.

“I’m in charge of their health," parent Gina Franks said. "Not the school. Not the government.”

“It’s not restrictive for them whatsoever, and we’re not through this pandemic yet, so I think it’s really important that they still wear masks,” Todd Gehrmann said.

Parent Heidi Anderson filed a lawsuit Wednesday, April 14, against the policy on religious and medical grounds.

Anderson's attorney Brian Henderson says the problem with Elmbrook’s rule is it ties masks to the dress code based on government orders.

“What they did is simply say, 'we have a policy that says, if there’s a state of public health emergency, then all students, all adults, everybody’s got to wear a mask.'”

But the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the state health emergency Wednesday, March 31.

“The district has continued to enforce this policy, even though by it’s plain language it cannot be applied or enforced right now,” Henderson said.

Elmbrook schools sent the statement: "The District is thankful and proud of the grace and patience afforded us by our students and families this year. Our mitigation efforts to stay safe and stay open have resulted in a successful in-person learning experience since we opened on September 1. Our mask requirements of students, staff and visitors have not changed, and were reinforced as critical to our continued success at a recent Medical Advisory Board meeting. While we cannot comment on existing litigation at the advice of our attorney, we remain committed to following the science and data to inform our safety protocols and procedures."

Henderson said if the district were to make a new mask policy that was not tied to a public health order, the lawsuit would likely shift its focus.

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