Judge denies Homewood parents’ request to stop school system’s mask policy

Local News

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, FIle)

October 02 2021 06:00 pm

HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) — A judge has denied two Homewood parents’ request to file a temporary restraining order against the city school system regarding its mask policy.

On Thursday night, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Carole C. Smitherman issued an order denying Dustin Vann and Shelly Whitlock Smith’s request to stop Homewood City Schools’ mask policy through a preliminary injunction and restraining order. The two had filed the request Tuesday, citing what they felt was “irreparable injury” if the policy continued. In fact, Smith claimed that she would keep her child out of school until the policy was reversed.

“Federal, state, and local action across the country is being predicated on data that is both incorrect and was promulgated and presented in an illegal manner,” the complaint stated. “As such, we are requesting emergency injunctive relief in the form of a Temporary Restraining Order.”

Ultimately, Smitherman said that neither Vann or Smith had adequately proven that their request for a restraining order or preliminary injunction was needed.

“First, Plaintiffs have not offered evidence to show that they will suffer immediate and irreparable injury,” Smitherman wrote in her order. “Additionally, the evidence indicates that the Plaintiffs may avoid the facial covering requirement by opting for the Board’s virtual learning alternative.”

Smitherman went on to say that the school board had the authority to implement a face mask requirement and had done so based on recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control, Alabama Department of Public Health and the Jefferson County Department of Health.

“Lastly, Plaintiffs have not established that injunctive relief in their favor would outweigh the burden on the Board or that it would serve the public interest,” Smitherman wrote. “To the contrary, enjoining the requirement of facial coverings could result in an increase of mandatory quarantines related to COVID-19 exposure, which would be a great burden on the Board and the public that outweighs the benefit of Plaintiffs’ preference to attend in-person school without a facial covering.”

Students at Homewood City Schools returned to class Wednesday.

It is not known whether Vann or Smith plan to appeal the decision.

Read the full order here

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