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Judge: No mask mandate for Cobb County Schools amid parents' suit alleging insufficient COVID protocols

The federal lawsuit argues that several children with special needs are being discriminated against in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A federal judge has ruled that he will not grant an emergency order requiring the Cobb County School District to mandate masks.

A group of parents suing the Cobb County School District are alleging COVID-19 policies are unfairly keeping their kids out of school, and hurting their right to an education and a safe learning environment.

New sketches were released from inside the courtroom as Judge Timothy Batten presided over the case. 

Judge Baten heard arguments from both sides. The federal lawsuit argues that several children with special needs are being discriminated against in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Cobb County's superintendent has resisted implementing a mask mandate in the district—  a mandate that is endorsed by Cobb County's Board of Health as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID recommendations. 

In Judge Baten's ruling he wrote, "So long as the plaintiffs are offered meaningful access to education—and the court finds they have—the defendants have adequately accommodated the students and their disabilities." 

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) responded to the judge's ruling Friday evening. 

"We are disappointed in the court’s decision, but this does not mark an end to the case. The case will move forward without the immediate relief we were seeking on behalf of students with medical vulnerabilities that make them extremely susceptible to COVID-19. The SPLC will not stop advocating for students and families in Cobb County schools to ensure they receive a high-quality education free from discrimination."

Southern Poverty Law Center Attorney Claire Sherburne, along with attorneys for Goodman Law Firm and the Law Office of Allison Vrolijk are representing the students and their parents in the lawsuit. 

"In consultation with our clients, we are considering all of our options. Unfortunately, with each day that passes, our clients continue to be denied access to the in-person instruction to which they are entitled," the statement read. 

You can find a copy of the ruling here