From The Tribune staff reports
HOMEWOOD – After two parents filed a lawsuit against the Homewood City School system over its mask policy, a Jefferson County judge denied their request.
Parents Dustin Vann and Shelly Whitlock said the school system’s policy requiring masks is harmful to their children. They filed for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the school system.
Vann claimed his children are being “unjustly psychologically challenged”.
Jefferson County Circuit Judge Carole Smitherman dismissed Vann’s claims early on, saying he did not prove any damage has been done to his children.
“Nothing in his Affidavit suggests that he is an expert on the efficacy of masks in preventing COVID-19, the psychological effects of wearing masks, or the transmissibility of COVID-19 in children, which are the subjects about which his affidavit offers opinions and inferences,” Smitherman stated in a court order.
Smitherman denied the request for a restraining order on Thursday, saying the parents did not meet four requisite elements. Those decisions are listed below:
1) First, Plaintiffs have not offered evidence to show that they will suffer immediate and irreparable injury. Additionally, the evidence indicates that the Plaintiffs may avoid the facial covering requirement by opting for the Board’s virtual learning alternative.
2) Second, Plaintiffs have not offered facts or even argued that they have no adequate remedy at law.
3) Third, the Court additionally finds that the Board has the statutory authority to implement a facial covering requirement, see Ala. Code § 16-11-9, and it has lawfully and appropriately done so based on the recommendations of the CDC, the ADPH, and the JCDH. With this in mind, Plaintiffs have not established a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits.
4) Lastly, Plaintiffs have not established that injunctive relief in their favor would outweigh the burden on the Board or that it would serve the public interest. To the contrary, enjoining the requirement of facial coverings could result in an increase of mandatory quarantines related to COVID-19 exposure, which would be a greater burden on the Board and the public that outweighs the benefit of Plaintiffs’ preference to attend in-person school without a facial covering.