Four California parents sued Gov. Gavin Newsom and other high-ranking officials for keeping schools closed, arguing that it violates the constitutional right of their children to education.
Attorneys said part-time class does not fulfill California’s constitutional requirement to provide high-quality education, nor does it do anything to mitigate the miniscule threat of the coronavirus to children or the community as a whole.
“Governor Newsom has repeatedly told us to ‘trust the science,'” said Mariah Gondeiro, attorney for the Freedom Foundation.
“It is time for Newsom to take his own advice,” she said. “Thousands of educators, parents and even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) say students need to be in school.”
Evidence shows that the coronavirus poses “low risks” to children and that children are “unlikely” to contract the disease and transmit it to adults, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
“All three of my children have experienced adverse effects from the current distance learning model that has been mandated by our local schools,” said Beth Watt, one of the parents Freedom Foundation represents in the case.
“All of my children were straight-A students before distance learning began,” she said. “This spring my children received a ‘P’ for all subjects, causing them to lose all motivation and desire to excel in school.”
Many schools dropped perfomance-based assessments during the spring semester, since it is difficult to grade students on online work, especially when they spend a fraction of time in class with the assistance of teachers.
Instead, many schools opted for participation-based assessments.
“They are frustrated to tears over the lack of instruction,” Watt said. “They are upset trying to navigate poor connectivity to get through their assigned online curriculum.”
Watt said her son had gone on anxiety medication for the first time ever due to the stress.
“Online education is causing serious mental health issues, along with an academic crisis the students find themselves in,” she continued. “Our children deserve better than this; our tax-funded education system is failing students.”
The lawsuit also includes Attorney General Xavier Beccera, State Public Health Officer Sandra Shewry and four school superintendents.