The class action lawsuit fighting a mask mandate in Wilson County Schools is scheduled to go before a judge on Nov. 2.
The lawsuit, filed in June, names then-Wilson County Schools Director Dr. Donna Wright and Wilson County School board members Larry Tomlinson, Carrie Pfeiffer, Bill Robinson and Linda Armistead as defendants over the mask mandate which was issued during the last part of the 2020-21 school year.
Eleven named plaintiffs — Timothy Thomas, Michelle Thomas, Maurisa Pasick, Ean Collins, Apryl Collins, Benjamin Reid, Shandra Reid, Scott Brown, Victoria Brown, John Tennyson and Goli Khadempour — filed the lawsuit, claiming there were 10,000 other people who were involved in the suit, as well.
Tennyson, who is working as the attorney for the plaintiffs, said in August, “we are seeking this action to be certified as a class action suit because the school board’s illegal actions affect more people than the named plaintiffs. They affect every single parent who resides in Wilson County whether they want to mask their own children or not.”
The suit states that Gov. Bill Lee’s executive orders concerning masks are not legal because it wasn’t a law passed by the Tennessee General Assembly.
The lawsuit asks for a declaratory judgement about the mandate. Tennyson said the goal is, “that WCS never again issue a mask mandate for children in Wilson County and that either Wilson County Schools acknowledge, or the Court find, that WCS never had the authority to issue a mask mandate.
Even though Lee’s order makes mask wearing optional, if an opt-out order is signed, Pasick said in an email on Sept. 22, “I don’t need an opt out to choose medical choices got my son. I am his parent and that’s that.”
Carl Spinning, the defendants’ attorney, did not return multiple phone calls. The defendants did not answer questions, instead referring all requests for interviews to Spinning.
The WCS board decided to make masks optional on July 12. In August, new WCS Director Jeff Luttrell reiterated the fact that they were to remain optional at that time.
However, at the September board meeting, Luttrell, citing the increase in COVID numbers across the county and in the schools, made masks required for all students whose parents didn’t sign the opt-out form.