Coronavirus Coverage from KARK

Arkansas attorney announces lawsuit on school mask mandates for parents concerned about upcoming school year

State News
January 01 2022 12:00 am

ROGERS, Ark.— There are only a few weeks left until most Arkansas schools resume, and parents are deciding what to do about masks. Some plan to take legal action against a state ban on mask mandates.

Act 1002, which passed during the latest legislative session, was sponsored by State Sen. Trent Garner (R). It banned mask mandates in the state.

Rogers attorney Tom Mars confirmed via Twitter he will represent parents in a lawsuit to make the law null.

In a tweet, Mars wrote, “The lawsuit I am preparing will be filed on behalf of all K-12 parents in Arkansas whose children attend a public school.”

He went on to write, “From my perspective, a successful outcome would be a temporary injunction and a ruling from a Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge declaring that Act 1002 violates the Arkansas Constitution is therefore null and void. In that event, school superintendents, school boards, and other public officials across the state would be free to implement mask mandates at their discretion.”

Republican State Senator Trent Garner said the lawsuit, when filed, will be a publicity stunt.

“His clients probably feel a legitimate need to challenge it, but Mr. Mars is a terrible stunt attorney,” Garner said. “He often trolls my Twitter page.”

Senator Garner is the one who sponsored legislation banning mask mandates. He said he agrees with the science of vaccines, anticipated legal challenges, but stands by the law.

“If there was ever a time we needed to put a mask mandate back in place again, the legislature would have to be called to actually have the enforcement of the law to do that,” Garner said.

However, some parents in Arkansas hope school districts will be given the option to mandate masks if they choose to do so.

“Even if I as a parent am telling my child you have to wear your mask– if they go to school and there is nobody enforcing that– who’s to say they’re going to do that?” questioned Kimberly Burns, parent of a kindergartner. “I feel like the discomfort of being safe is far more important than the discomfort of fighting for your life.”

Mars said he has scheduled a Zoom Meeting for Thursday, July 22, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. He says they will allow interested parents to learn more about the lawsuit and ask any questions.  If you would like to listen to the call, Mars says to reach out to his assistant prior to the meeting HERE.

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