"We're hoping to do a class-action suit against all school boards in Wisconsin that aren't providing the CDC-recommended mitigations for students."
Two Wisconsin moms sent their kids back to school this year to two different school districts that eschewed the Covid protocols that were in place last year. Despite advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rose Glen Elementary School in Waukesha and Fall Creek Elementary School outside of Green Bay did not mandate masks for the 2021-22 school year.
Shannon Jensen and Gina Kildahl say their children went back to school and tested positive for Covid just weeks into the school year.
Now they're both suing their children's school districts.
Jensen, who filed her lawsuit first against the Waukesha School District, the Waukesha Board of Education, individual school board members and district employees. Kildahl's lawsuit came shortly after, against the Fall Creek School District, the board, its superintendent, and individual board members for "recklessly refusing" to implement Covid-19 mitigation efforts recommended by the CDC, per CNN. Both mothers cited each school's lax policies on masks, quarantining, and contact tracing as reasons for the litigation.
The lawsuit alleges the district violated the boy's 14th Amendment right to be protected from state-created dangers at school.https://t.co/K0qGbNeORN— WTVR CBS 6 Richmond (@CBS6) October 13, 2021
"By bringing students back to class around unmasked staff, reinstituting extracurricular activities, and allowing potentially contagious visitors and volunteers into the schools without masks, FCSD and the BOARD threw students into a Covid-19 'snake pit' creating an affirmative duty to keep their students safe from Covid-19," Kildahl's complaint reads.
School boards for both the School District of Waukesha and the School District of Fall Creek voted to end the Covid mitigation policies that had been in place last year, according to the lawsuits.
All across the U.S., the topic of Covid mitigation efforts in schools—specifically mask-wearing—has been a controversial one. Parents have taken to school board meetings to air their grievances about mask mandates, and many of these live-streamed meetings have grown contentious and, in some cases, violent.
Neither Wisconsin school district has released a statement about the lawsuits. The attorney representing both Jensen and Kildahl, Frederick Melms, holds out hope that his clients' efforts will inspire change in safety measures within the districts their children attend.
"We're hoping to get a judge that [will] make them do the right thing," Melms said. "It's unfortunate that it came to this."