Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Parents Of Children With Disabilities Join The Legal Battle Over Masks In Schools

Brittany Schwaigert says her 13-year-old son, Greyson, needs his peers to wear their masks.

Greyson has tuberous sclerosis complex, a rare genetic disorder, which means contracting COVID-19 could send him into renal failure among other complications. He is also behind in school due to developmental delays.

“He doesn’t understand that he’s in danger and so therefore he doesn’t understand he has to [put on a] mask.” Schwaigert says. “Those kinds of advanced concepts are out of his grasp. So, it requires everyone around him to protect him.”

He attends school at Collierville Municipal School District in Tennessee. In mid-August, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, issued an executive order that allows parents to opt their children out of mask mandates.

As of Aug. 20, 16% of students in Greyson’s district were opting out. Schwaigert is a lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit challenging the governor’s opt-out policy. On Friday, a federal judge temporarily blocked Lee’s order from being enforced, but that ruling only lasts until Sept. 17.

Schwaigert says Greyson can only get the special education services and socialization he needs in the classroom. But the opt-out order, she adds, would put her son in danger when he is at school. “We cannot rely on other people’s parenting to protect our special needs child. That’s absurd. [see the ful article]


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