Virginia Supreme Court dismisses Chesapeake parents' lawsuit against Gov. Youngkin on masks in schools

Teachers union calling for masks to be worn at all times in school
Posted at 1:55 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 14:08:38-05

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - The Supreme Court of Virginia has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Chesapeake parents against Governor Youngkin in response to his executive order that removes masks mandates from schools.

13 Chesapeake Public School parents filed a lawsuit, in which they stated that Gov. Youngkin does not have the authority that he claims to make masks optional in schools.

On Monday, the Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit, stating "the relief requested does not lie against any of the respondents." Despite parents losing this lawsuit, a legal expert says the ruling is largely a procedural loss and does not say if the governor's executive order is lawful or unlawful.

According to the ruling, parents can’t compel their local school board to adopt a mask mandate using a mandamus action lawsuit.

Attorney General Miyares issued the below statement following the dismissal:

The parents' attorney, Kevin Martingayle, released the following statement on the dismissal:

The Supreme Court (SCV) ruled that mandamus and prohibition are not available as procedural tools in this matter. The SCV also said that schools boards have “a degree of discretion” based on “individual circumstances” in their school districts. However, the SCV also said (in footnote 2 on the last page) that the SCV is offering “no opinion on the legality of EO 2 or any other issue pertaining to petitioners’ claims”. So while the SCV has rejected the Chesapeake parents’ case on procedural grounds it has not decided whether EO 2 is legal. This is far from over.

Youngkin defended his recently signed executive orders during an interview with News 3 last week. When asked about his order making masks optional at schools, he said he had no regrets with how the issue is playing out.

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