SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Just a few days after Governor Gavin Newsom announced new guidelines to reopen classrooms in the fall, one group has filed a lawsuit to block him.
The Center for American Liberty is suing the governor over his new guidelines to determine which school districts would be allowed to reopen classrooms this fall.
“Indeed, California is the only state in the United States where there is a ban on the majority of children from being educated,” attorney Harmeet Dhillon told FOX40. “We intend to pursue an injunction in court to prevent the governor from destroying the academic year and beyond for these families and their kids.”
Over Zoom, the civil rights nonprofit organization held a press conference Tuesday, claiming the governor’s orders disadvantage special needs students and students who need to be competitive to enter college.
“Even parents with the most motivated and academically successful children reported depression, anxiety, withdrawal, behavioral issues, a lack of motivation,” explained Dhillon.
On Friday, Newsom announced that in order to resume in-class instruction, a county on the state’s COVID-19 watchlist must be off the list for 14 consecutive days. Otherwise, districts in those counties can only conduct distance learning.
As of Tuesday, more than 30 of the state’s 58 counties are on the watchlist.
The lawsuit claims the governor is violating the state’s constitution by making these demands.
“The governor does not have the authority, quite frankly, to do what he has done in his decree and that is outlined in one of the claims in our case,” asserted Dhillon.
The Center for American Liberty said the plaintiffs in the case are nine California families from across the state, each with a different background.
But attorneys for the plaintiffs said they do not want their lawsuit to force teachers and students who do not wish to return to the classroom back.
“Yes, there may be vulnerable parents and grandparents at home, there may be vulnerable teachers,” explained Dhillon. “We should take precautions for those. What we are advocating is parent choice.”
Newsom announced last week that even for schools that only do online, distance learning, the state will be making sure there are rigorous standards.
The governor’s office responded with the following statement:
“As the Governor has explained, science drives the state’s decisions in this pandemic. We will defend this challenge to the Governor’s exercise of emergency authority in this crisis as we have all others, and we note that every federal court to rule on such a challenge to date has ruled that the exercise of authority is lawful.”California Governor’s Office Spokesperson Jesse Melgar
*Note: This story was edited to add the statement from the California Governor’s Office.