BRENTWOOD, N.H. — A group of parents who believe children should not be wearing masks in school are awaiting a ruling from Superior Court Judge Marguerite Wageling after a hearing Friday.
Wageling heard a request to dismiss the case, as well as merits, before taking the matter under advisement.
The civil lawsuit was filed July 2 on behalf of 23 parents — 15 from Londonderry, two each from Plaistow and Danville, and one each from Sandown, Atkinson, Epping and Tilton. It challenges policies requiring students to wear face masks while in school or participating in school-related activities.
The lawsuit argues that mask mandates violate parents’ rights under the New Hampshire Constitution, and goes on to classify masks as illegal restraints.
The parents want attorneys fees and a ruling that school administrative units have violated the law.
The Londonderry School District, Epping School District, and Timberlane Regional School District are named as defendants. Court paperwork explains that the Tilton parent sends a student to South Elementary School in Londonderry.
Attorney Robert Fojo says the plaintiffs, all of whom he represents, repeatedly took their concerns to school officials before hiring him. Fojo is involved in four other pending lawsuits seeking the same outcome in other New Hampshire school districts.
“There’s no need for masking kids in school; there’s no basis for it,” Fojo said Friday. “The (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) published a study three months ago demonstrating there’s no significant benefit.”
He said in court that children are statistically less likely to experience the consequences of COVID-19.
“Zero children have died,” Fojo said. “And only 29 have been hospitalized, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.”
Schools across the state and country have implemented mask mandates, or optional mask wearing, as a means to stop the spread of COVID-19 and in line with changing state and federal guidance.
It was not immediately clear when Wageling’s ruling could be expected.