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Council Bluffs parent takes aim at Iowa’s ban on mask mandates with a potential lawsuit

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 10:46 PM CDT
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - Iowa parents are putting the state’s ban on mask mandates center stage after a school district delayed the start of classes because of an outbreak.

AHSTW Community Schools in southwestern Iowa said Monday it is delaying the start of school because of a COVID-19 outbreak amid the staff. The outbreak has some Council Bluffs Community Schools’ parents on alert.

“I don’t think you’re getting guidance from anyone in Des Moines. I don’t think you’re getting guidance from anyone,” said Fran Parr, who spoke at Tuesday night’s school board meeting in Council Bluffs.

Parr has two young boys in the district and is very aware that school districts in Iowa cannot mandate masks. Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law banning mask mandates in May; but still, Parr — and others — want their voices heard.

“Back in May, I pleaded with you to come up with a plan to within the confines of the governor’s law banning mask mandates in schools,” Anna Hunter said. “I spurred you on with the rally cry I use with my own Council Bluffs students: ‘You can do hard things.’ ”

Hunter is now teaching her children from home, watching as school districts across the Omaha-metro and beyond shut classroom doors.

“I see pictures of my kiddos’ friends masked and unmasked and think my kids could be safely in class with some of them — and hope they get the chance in the future,” Hunter said.

In an effort to put the decision on masking back in the hands of school districts, Parr has been considering filing a lawsuit against the governor challenging the state’s ban on mask mandates.

While she can’t reveal details at this time of a potential lawsuit, Parr notes significant progress has been made since 6 New spoke with her a few weeks ago.

“I’m happy to say that there have been some good options that we have,” said Parr. “I feel positive about the options we’ve figured out. It’s been a phenomenal effort, a collaborative effort across the state looking at different ways to approach this problem.”

Nearly every state with a law banning mask mandates is now facing legal challenges. The latest lawsuit was filed Tuesday in South Carolina by the American Civil Liberties Union.

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