ILLINOIS — Gov. J.B. Pritzker is defending a lawsuit he filed to ensure school children wear face coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus when schools reopen.
The action filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court by the state attorney general seeks a judge’s approval of Pritzker’s order that school children, teachers, and staff wear face coverings over mouths and noses to reduce the chance that the highly contagious virus can spread.
At an appearance in Waukegan Friday, the governor said he will have no patience for school districts that don’t obey the order.
“A local school district that decides to say ‘the heck with it, we are not wearing masks,’ I’m telling you now, we gotta stop that,” Pritzker said.
Three Illinois school organizations have informed the state that Pritzker no longer has the authority to make such rules and they will be deciding their own safety guidelines. Hutsonville Community Unit School District #1 in southeastern Illinois, Families of Faith Christian Academy in Channahon and Parkview Christian Academy in Yorkville wrote letters to the state board explaining that the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in 1922 that government cannot make rules “which merely have a tendency to prevent” the spread of infectious diseases.
Republican State Rep. Darren Bailey of Xenia, who won a victory in Clay County against Pritzker arguing that the governor’s ability under state law to impose emergency rules ended after 30 days, says the governor is once again overstepping his bounds.
“To totally, completely disregard local government, and education is supposed to be governed by local government, I think this is saying a lot,” Bailey said. “I am eager to see what he is going to try to do or what he thinks he can do.”
The Center Square – Kevin Bessler