Two parent groups in California are suing Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and state health officials over plans to require students to wear masks when they return to school this fall.
State health authorities say the requirement, which includes kindergarten through 12th-grade students, will permit full-time in-person learning and allow all students to be treated equally, regardless of their vaccination status.
But the Let Them Breathe group argued that face masks have a negative impact on children's social, mental and physical health. Group members say masks should not be a requirement, rather a choice for the parents to make.
"We're seeing kids be more anxious, more depressed, have difficulty engaging in their education when they're unable to see each others' faces, share smiles, and just start getting back to life with some type of normalcy," said Sharon McKeeman, a parent and founder of Let Them Breathe.
She added, "The bottom line is the government should not be doing parents' jobs. We're the parents; we know what's best for our children."
Let Them Breathe filed its lawsuit in a San Diego County court Thursday along with the statewide group Reopen California Schools.
"Our kids have suffered for over a year and it's time we put them at the forefront and give them some normalcy that they deserve," Jonathan Zachreson, founder of Reopen California Schools, told FOX 40 of Sacramento.
We’re asking a judge to immediately halt CA’s:
-School mask mandate
-Quarantining healthy kids
-Routine asymptomatic testing pic.twitter.com/FxvDYgza8P
— Reopen California Schools (@ReopenCASchools) July 22, 2021
Meanwhile, some parents say their children have gotten used to wearing masks and they aren't concerned by the mandate.
"I don't have an issue with the masks. I mean, they've been wearing it for over a year or more," said parent Danielle Marquez. "We'll be real, it's not necessarily the most comfortable thing to wear 24 hours a day, but you know they're not suffering for it."
Steve Hill, whose daughter is in the fifth grade, said kids are "resilient" and can withstand a lot.
"Kids are pretty resilient. I would like to see some more adults be a little more resilient and look out for the greater good a little bit more," he said. "The greater public health interest should outweigh everything here."
The lawsuit by Let Them Breathe also claims that the state's school guidance discriminates against those who are unvaccinated.
Other defendants listed in the lawsuit include Newsom, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, state Public Health Officer Tomás Aragón, and Dr. Naomi Bardach, the state's Safe Schools for All team lead.