Fairfax County, Virginia – Today, three Fairfax County parents — Carrie Lukas, Stephanie Lundquist-Arora, and Misty Lombardo — filed suit against the Fairfax County School Board and its Superintendent Scott Brabrand alleging that those officials openly and willfully violated Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order regarding mask mandates in schools, and state laws that codify Virginia parents’ rights to make decisions regarding the health and education of their children.
Paul M. Bartkowski, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, who is also a Fairfax County Public Schools parent, explains that, “[t]he lawsuit is intended to permit the exercise of Virginia parents’ established right to make decisions regarding the education and upbringing of their children. We hope that the state legislature and the School Board act quickly to put the sad chapter of imposing harmful, ineffective COVID mitigation measures on FCPS students behind us.”
Carrie Lukas, a member of Independent Women’s Network and mother of five children in Fairfax County Public Schools, said, “Hundreds of parents from across the state have affirmed that they want to opt their children out of mask mandates. These parents have seen the avalanche of data that shows that these masks do not prevent the spread of COVID and that they may harm children emotionally and in terms of their development. Why is FCPS clinging to these mask mandates in spite of the scientific evidence? It’s time for this to end and for FCPS to respect parents’ rights.”
Lukas’s elementary school children were denied entry to Forestville Elementary school when they arrived unmasked and were marked with unexcused absences for that day.
Stephanie Lundquist-Arora’s three sons in Hunt Valley Elementary school and Irving Middle school were illegally suspended for a total of nine days. She explains, “My sons have struggled with headaches from prolonged mask use under the mandate. Following the implementation of Executive Order 2, we were well within our rights to remove them.” She continues, “Given that in the past, there has never been a Fairfax County Public Schools student suspended for nine consecutive days on a dress code violation, the political nature of the district’s punitive measures against students and families in the philosophical minority is evident.” After FCPS denied her children several days of in-person learning, her sons are working diligently to catch up with their studies.
Misty Lombardo, whose oldest child was suspended from West Springfield High School, says, “We have four children. We withdrew our elementary school children from FCPS this year because we deemed prolonged masking more harmful to their overall health than COVID. Our high schoolers are old enough to adequately advocate for themselves. With an opt-out email on record, they entered school on January 25th unmasked, but were promptly instructed to mask. One of our children complied, the other did not. He was subsequently suspended, but also complimented on how respectful he was when he stated his right to attend school unmasked. Executive Order 2 gives parents the choice to opt their children out of mask wearing. Our two older children weighed the risks and benefits of the threat of suspension and made their own choices. We fully support the decisions they made.”
The plaintiffs seek injunctive relief prohibiting the School Board from enforcing the mask mandate and/or imposing any punishments on students whose parents opt out of the mandate and/or any policy regarding wearing masks while at school. Whether or not enjoined to do so by the court, FCPS further should immediately expunge all of the “dress code” suspensions from the students’ records.
The lawsuit can be found HERE.
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