A DeWitt father and attorney Adam Holland filed a lawsuit against DeWitt Public Schools roughly one month after his fifth grade son was disciplined for lowering his mask below his nose.
"I want to clear the air because I think there's sort of a misconception that this lawsuit was filed because my son got disciplined as a result of lowering his mask, and, that's not at all the case," Holland said.
Earlier this year, DeWitt Schools Superintendent Shanna Spickard said mask requirements in the district would be dependent on COVID-19 transmission levels, and currently, a mask requirement is in place. Holland said how that decision came to be is what he is challenging.
"So, Superintendent Spickard responds to my letter and represents that she authorized herself to issue this policy," Holland said. "So, as an attorney, you know, that perks my ears and sets off some alarm bells for me."
Holland said when he heard the school board was not involved in making the decision to require masks, it surprised him.
"There's one un-elected official who's in total control of when this policy's in place, when it's not in place, how it changes, and that's just not appropriate, and that's why the system is designed the way it is," Holland said. "To prevent this exact type of abuse."
According to Holland, he's not alone.
"I sue because I have a community that's — that wants to influence change, that wants to have their fundamental right to participate in creating school policy," Holland said. "They want to voice their opinions, they want to be heard, they don't want to just yell at the sky or scream at a wall or go to a board meeting and be on the public comment section for non-agenda items, and come back every month and not be heard."
The mask policy is an agenda item for the school board meeting Monday night.
"It doesn't matter whether you're for or against masks," Holland said. "Whether you're for or against the board making the decision or the superintendent making the decision. This is the opportunity for anybody in the community, whether you agree with my suit or not, anybody that has any interest in this issue, is finally able to participate in it."
FOX 47 reached out to the district for a response on the lawsuit and received a written statement from Spickard.
"The district declines to answer at this time due to the litigation. We are continuing with the 'Stay in School' plans that were communicated to families back on Aug. 16. Our goal continues to focus on keeping students in school, and our current mask plan has drastically reduced the number of quarantines, keeping students safely in the classrooms, athletes on the field/court, and many events/performances in person."
Monday night's board meeting is at 6 p.m. at the DeWitt Board of Education Office.
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