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Parents Claim School Shutdown is Illegal

A group of frustrated and desperate parents in California has filed a federal lawsuit against Governor Gavin Newsom challenging his order to keep schools in that state closed due to the novel Chinese coronavirus, COVID-19. The lawsuit alleges that the order violates the state and federal constitutions and various federal statutes protecting the civil rights of students with disabilities.

Click here to read the Complaint.

“The law gives state and local authorities a lot of leeway to implement reasonable restrictions on our freedoms in the case of a public health emergency,” said education attorney Tom Blessing, who represents students with special needs. “Unfortunately, many of these governors and mayors seem to think that means they can do whatever the Hell they want. That’s simply not true, and these courageous parents are standing up for their children and millions of others by filing this lawsuit,” Blessing said. Although school closures impact all families, some are especially hard hit: “Students with disabilities, single parents, minorities and low-income households are disproportionately impacted when schools shut down,” Blessing explained.

According to Blessing, closing Indiana public schools could give rise to a similar legal challenge here: “Federal law requires public schools to provide disabled students with a free appropriate public education, and our state Constitution requires maintaining a school system which is ‘equally open to all.’ Shutting down our schools again would violate these rights and probably be challenged in court.”

If you have questions about your child’s legal rights at school, contact Tom Blessing for a free consultation.

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