A group of parents being represented by the Freedom Foundation is suing Gov. Gavin Newsom for his decision to keep schools open only part-time, arguing that it has already left negative impacts on their children. The parents, Gina Looney, Christie Struble, Beth Watt, and Kimberly Hill, filed their complaint in the Shasta County Superior Court.
"The citizens of California recognize the importance of a quality education cannot be overstated and have enshrined it as a right guaranteed by the California Constitution," they write in the filing. "The Orders and accompanying school policies not only violate this constitutional right but impair students' ability to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for success in our competitive economy, and to be informed citizens and productive members of society."
The mothers who filed the lawsuit each had unfortunate anecdotes to share about their kids' at-home virtual education.
"All three of my children have experienced adverse effects from the current distance learning model that has been mandated by our local schools," explained Beth Watt. "All of my children were straight-A students before distance learning began. This spring my children received a 'P' for all subjects, causing them to lose all motivation and desire to excel in school."
"They are frustrated to tears over the lack of instruction," she continued. "They are upset trying to navigate poor connectivity to get through their assigned online curriculum. My son is on anxiety medication for the first time in his life. Online education is causing serious mental health issues, along with an academic crisis the students find themselves in. Our children deserve better than this; our tax-funded education system is failing students."
The parents don't only offer an emotional explanation for their lawsuit, however. Their complaint is based on science that reveals COVID-19 poses "relatively low risks to school-aged children."
They're not the only ones suing state government for keeping schools shuttered. A group of Southern California parents has also sought to take Gov. Newsom to court. Their attorney, founder and CEO of The Center For American Liberty Harmeet Dhillon, explained that the governor's one-size-fits-all approach is doing little to help low-income minority families, single-parent families and those who have children with disabilities. And parents could attest to that.
"Students who are already disadvantaged are being adversely affected by this order, and I feel a personal responsibility to make sure that we get this one chance at a guaranteed education," said Rancho Palos Verdes father Matthew Brach.