Photo Credit: Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs / YouTube
“I’d like to talk about the federal order mandating universal masking in Knox County Schools. Since Schools are the target of this order, my office does not technically have standing in this case, but I cannot ignore the calls from the hundreds of residents and parents who have reached out to me, expressing their disappointment with this situation.
Further, I won’t stop speaking up on behalf of these students and their families who feel as if they aren’t being heard when they speak for themselves.
When Judge Greer mandated this edict, he did so with the intent of protecting students with certain disabilities, and I truly believe that was his intent. I do not believe that he would knowingly cause harm. However, this order makes it impossible to serve the needs of hundreds if not thousands of other students with special needs, and In doing so, has forced the schools to actively violate 504 and IEP plans which are in place to ensure that those students have reasonable accommodations to meet their needs, none of which have been made available to them in the ten days they were forced to sit in isolation rooms or at home.
He said his mandate was based on ADA, but instead it forces the school system to violate ADA requirements.
Judge Greer asked the schools to provide a list of suggested medical masking exemptions for his consideration. The schools submitted that list on September 29th. Since the medical exemption list was submitted, The Court has said nothing. Meaning the schools must continue operating in this horrifically unjust status quo.
For many students masking is simply not an option. This injunction is Actively hurting them; which is in direct opposition of what the plaintiff’s case claims to be doing in the name of ADA.
Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the plaintiff’s attorneys are based out of Jackson and Chattanooga and their arguments are being supported by the D.C.-based litigation non-profit Democracy First. This group was founded and is managed by high-level Democratic Party operatives with significant ties to Hillary Clinton. People like John Podesta who was Bill Clinton’s presidential Chief of Staff and Chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Their main goal is to advance a political agenda that removes the ability of parents to determine what is best for their child.
They are instigating filings in Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Texas, and Memphis, and they’re making a mess of things in Knox County without care or acknowledgement of the potentially irreparable harm they are doing to so many of our students. In other words, are kids are being used as fodder to further a political agenda.
I believe the elected members of the Board of Education are fully qualified and capable of determining what is best for Knox County schools, and that they should continue making the decisions that impact students most.
Judge Greer should allow them to do so. I ask that he also respond to the motions filed by the Law Department, stop allowing politically motivated out-of-towners to bog the system down with briefs, share a specific timeline for the advancement of this case, and provide a comprehensive plan to the schools for how best to serve all their students.
Acting swiftly and objectively in this case is the only way around appearing as if the litigation is anything other than an attempt to push a political agenda at the expense of the very children this order claims to protect.”