COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A group of Cobb County parents said the district is violating their kids’ constitutional rights by forcing them to wear masks.
They are suing the district, asking a judge to stop the rule that requires students to wear masks while in school.
"They want the district to do more than just say we’re going to listen to whatever is out there and violate constitutional rights," said Attorney Rob Madayag, who is represents the group of Cobb County parents.
Matthew and Karen Gill are part of the lawsuit.
They say their 6-year-old son has told them about trouble breathing through his mask during recess and while in physical education class. They are concerned wearing a mask all day will negatively impact the kindergartener’s social development and health.
"The impacts to his social development, the physical impact of him wearing a mask we just don’t think the cost of those equals the benefits," said Matthew Gill.
In a statement to 11Alive, a district spokesperson said "the safety of Cobb students and staff is our first priority and we will not let this frivolous lawsuit distract us from that commitment. This lawsuit is a distraction and costs valuable taxpayer funds. We need to work together, as a community, during this global pandemic.'"
Yet, the lawsuit claims the district does not have the authority to require masks because it goes beyond any orders set by Gov. Brian Kemp and Cobb County Local government.
Father of four, John Hanson, is concerned about his three teens and middle schooler. He said his daughter broke out with a bacterial infection on her face, which he believes came from wearing the mask.
"I am extremely concerned as a parent that the district has over stepped their power in mandating masks. It’s clear from the state it was never the intention to make mask mandatory," said Hanson.
This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it eased its outdoor mask guidance for those who are vaccinated. However, many school districts around the metro are mixed on what to do as restrictions loosen.
Gwinnett County Schools said it will continue its mask mandate while Fulton County Schools will begin to relax its COVID restrictions in phases starting May 3. Masks will then be recommended, but not required for high school students and employees during outdoor activities only.
Cobb said it will continue to follow the guidance of the Cobb and Douglas Department of Public Health, which recommends a “cloth face covering in public where social distancing is difficult to maintain.”
The lawsuit will be heard in federal court. No date has been set.