Legal Update- Lawsuit is Filed
Big News! On February 11, 2022, we filed our lawsuit in Westchester County seeking to permanently enjoin the State of New York, New York State Department of Education, New York State Office of Children and Family Services, and New York State Health Department from enforcing the mask mandate for children ages 2 and up in daycare and school settings. Our action includes plaintiffs from various counties across our state and is supported by eight (8) experts, many nationally-renowned, in the fields of epidemiology, virology, pediatric psychology, pediatric speech and language pathology, engineering, and industrial hygiene, among others.
Our lawsuit argues that the State’s prolonged forced masking policy has greatly harmed children academically, socially, emotionally, and physically while providing no benefit to limiting transmission of COVID-19 in schools or daycares. Through our experts, we show that the State has failed to cite to any evidence that establishes a causal link between masking children and reducing transmission of COVID-19 in daycares or schools, and therefore such policies are arbitrary, capricious, and lacks a rational basis. Our lawsuit separately argues that the masking policy violates the separation of powers clause the New York Constitution and thus the mask mandate must be invalidated.
You can view the petition and memo of law below.
The court docket can be found here:
We are very appreciative of all of the financial support from our WNY Students First community so far which has allowed us to take this momentous step forward! However, the lawsuit is far from over and the costs to litigate this case continue to mount. To support our legal action, please donate – whether it is again or first the first time – so that we can continue this necessary fight.
2022 Legal Update + FAQ
Many of you have donated to our lawsuit to prevent the state from mandating masks. If you haven't donated, or want to donate again, you can find the donation links here.
Hey, I donated awhile ago. What’s going on with the legal action?
First, thank you so much for donating! We have been hard at work reviewing and learning from other lawsuits filed in the state of New York as well as other parts of the country. There have been no shortage of challenges to the mask mandates at both the State and Federal court level. We have learned a lot from reading the pleadings, supporting affidavits and court decisions in these actions. With this knowledge, we believe we are better positioned to not repeat past mistakes and develop a strong legal strategy supported by highly credible experts.
We have hired a law firm to file an Article 78 action against the State of New York to challenge the mask mandate relating to kids ages 2 and up in the daycare and school settings. Our approach is statewide and includes plaintiffs residing in a variety of counties in New York with children of varying ages and circumstances. We have secured several experts and plaintiffs to date. Our target filing date is January 2022.
Why should I donate to this effort to challenge mask mandates when I already donated to another?
Good question! There have been many fundraisers opened (and closed) to fund various legal challenges relating to masks. We have not been affiliated with any of those suits and believe we have a better legal strategy. Our approach is statewide, completely nonpartisan, and involves plaintiffs from multiple counties and involves plaintiffs of various age groups and circumstances. We are also challenging the mask mandate for kids in daycare as well as kids in school.
How else can I help support this effort?
Though many experts have offered their services pro bono, some experts will require modest payment for their time and services. We are therefore still fundraising to ensure that we can secure the best possible experts for this case.
Also, legal fees are expected to increase, particularly if an appeal is needed. We are therefore asking for your continued support in donating to this ongoing effort as you are able.
Finally, we are still looking for additional plaintiffs to represent more counties in the state of New York. If you or a friend or family member reside outside of WNY and are interested in participating in this suit as a plaintiff, please reach out to email@example.com for more information.
What’s the basis for challenging masking of kids at this time?
We know a lot more about COVID now than we did in 2020. We have access to treatments, vaccines and improved ventilation in schools. We also know that cloth masks do not work to prevent the transmission of COVID, which is an airborne virus. We can demonstrate that the state’s reliance on the CDC and flawed studies does not justify this mandate nor override the overwhelming harm to those children who are forced to mask every day against their will while in daycare or school.
New York State’s mandate also takes a position contrary to the WHO and UNICEF in requiring masking for kids as young as 2 years old. According to the WHO and UNICEF, “Children aged 5 years and under should not be required to wear masks. This is based on the safety and overall interest of the child and the capacity to appropriately use a mask with minimal assistance.” Further, in general, “there may be local requirements for children aged 5 years and under to wear masks, or specific needs in some settings, such as being physically close to someone who is ill. In these circumstances, if the child wears a mask, a parent or other guardian should be within direct line of sight to supervise the safe use of the mask.”
WHO and UNICEF advise that the decision to use masks for children aged 6-11 should be based on the following factors:
What is the goal of the lawsuit?
The goal is for the court to issue an order finding that NY’s mask mandate on children 2 years and up in daycare and schools is arbitrary, capricious and therefore invalid. This suit seeks equitable relief and will not seek any monetary damages. The mandate does not allow for breaks and requires children to mask for 7+ hours per day, causing significant harm to the education and social emotional development of an entire generation of kids.