SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – The Orange County Board of Education has announced that it will sue Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Healthcare Officer for government orders to prevent public schools from teaching in person.
The 4-0 vote took place during a closed session of the board's special session on Zoom on Tuesday evening. The lawsuit is filed by Tyler & Bursch, LLP, of Murrieta, Riverside County, with the support of Advocates for Faith & Freedom, a nonprofit legal organization.
“Children in California have a constitutional right to education and equal protection under the law. The governor denied them these rights and did so without taking due account of the different effects of these restrictions on the disadvantaged, ”said Tyler & Bursch, LLP lawyer Jennifer Bursch. "We filed this lawsuit to protect the single mother and her children, children whose parents do not read or write English, and children with special needs."
A group of parents also sued Newsom and challenged the order.
Earlier this month, Newsom issued guidelines for schools in counties to remain closed on the state coronavirus watch list for personal learning. All of Southern California is on the watch list, including the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura.
Positive cases in Orange County are approaching 35,000 and 581 people in the county have died of COVID-19 so far. Hospitalizations in the county are also increasing.
The Orange County Education Authority earlier this month approved a no-obligation recommendation to reopen schools that did not require physical distancing or wearing masks. Santa Ana Unified, one of the largest counties in the county, declined this advice almost immediately, as did other school officials.
"The recommendations of the majority of the board are not binding and the school district of the city of La Habra will not open our schools under these conditions," said Joanne Culverhouse, district superintendent. "The health and safety of our employees and students will guide the decisions we make to reopen our schools."
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