A Catholic elementary school in Michigan that serves students from kindergarten through fifth grade is suing the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) over its school mask mandate, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on October 22.
Resurrection School in Lansing argues in the lawsuit that a mask "shields our humanity," is disruptive to teaching and interferes with important human interactions that are "essential to the spiritual well-being of the students."
The lawsuit states that a large part of the school's parent community also disagrees with the mandate that requires their children to be masked while in the classroom even while socially distanced.
Multiple parents from the school are also plantiffs in the lawsuit. One of them cited their child's medical condition as one of the reasons for her opposition and stated that he has difficulty breathing after wearing the mask for 30 minutes. The plantiffs also argue that "the excessive or unreasonable mandated wearing of a face mask has become a symbol of oppression and an attempt by the government to control the citizenry."
Among the defendants listed in the lawsuit are Robert Gordon, director of the MDHHS, Dana Nessel, attorney general for the State of Michigan, and Linda S. Vail, health officer of Ingham County.
The plantiffs are asking a U.S. District Court judge to enjoin the enforcement of the mask mandate in schools and declare that it violates their fundamental constitutional rights and Michigan law.
A spokesperson for the MDHHS issued a comment on the lawsuit, saying in an email, "MDHHS is confident that that the epidemic order is lawful. MDHHS Director Robert Gordon issued the order under a different law than the law invalidated by the Michigan Supreme Court. The law under which Director Gordon acted was enacted by the Michigan Legislature specifically to deal with epidemics."
Resurection School, which is led by the ministry of the Church of the Resurrection, has held in-person instruction since August with health and safety protocols in place, according to the lawsuit.