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Parents file suit against Missoula schools over mask policy

MCPS, Target Range, Hellgate Elementary named in complaint
face coverings
Posted at 12:40 PM, Aug 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 11:04:56-04

MISSOULA — A group is filing suit against Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) and other area school districts regarding the mask use policy for students.

MTN News confirmed Thursday that Stand Up Montana, a group that has been outspoken against face mask use, and Missoula attorney Quentin Rhoades, are filing the suit.

The group is comprised of parents who say they have students enrolled in MCPS, according to the filing.

Documents filed into Missoula County District Court say at least one family unenrolled their students from school “due to the TRSD (Target Range School District) mask mandate.“

The Hellgate Elementary school district is also named in the complaint.

MCPS said they will not comment on any litigation at this time.

Rhoades says Stand Up Montana does not want to take away the rights of anyone who wants to wear a mask but says it should be a choice between parents, students, and medical providers.

He adds the burden of proof will be on the school districts to prove the policies are necessary.

"If we can show that the government is infringing on the right to make medical decisions, then the government has to come in, the board of trustees, has to come in and prove that they have a compelling government interest at stake in this masking rule," Rhoades explained.

Kyleva Law is representing the elementary schools and told MTN News they "certainly disagree" with the argument that mask rules violate the constitution, and say they will be filing a response in court.

Stand Up Montana also says that in light of the Bozeman school board meeting on Aug. 23, during which the board voted 7-1 in favor of masks, they are also preparing to file in Gallatin County against the Bozeman School Board.

Click here to read the court documents related to the suit.