An Indiana judge is allowing a parent lawsuit against the governor’s mask and quarantine rules for schools to move ahead as efforts to end the science-defying, child-harming mandates stall in the state legislature.
Last week an Indiana judge ruled that the parent plaintiffs have provided enough evidence of a legitimate legal complaint to move forward with the case. The governor, their local school board, the state health department, and others the parents sued had moved to dismiss the suit.
But Allen County Superior Court Judge David Avery said a trial is required to determine if government officials are violating state law with their rules that cause constant mass quarantining of healthy children and disruptions to Hoosier children’s education. Public education is a right guaranteed by Indiana’s state constitution.
Out of more than 3,000 children quarantined under the state’s rules last year in Northwest Allen County Schools, fewer than 10 had Covid-19, said the parents’ attorney, Kevin Mitchell, to a local radio station this week. That means approximately 99.7 percent of quarantined kids didn’t have Covid but were still barred from school for one to two weeks with each quarantine.
Mitchell said he expected the numbers across the state were largely similar. He also said parents saw a school employee literally walking around with a six-foot stick to “abide by regulations and figure out the quarantines.”
As in other states, Indiana’s irrational school Covid rules have led to three school years of ongoing disruptions for its youngest generation. These rules have persisted even though scientists established that Covid was of near-zero risk to children within a few months of the initial Covid outbreak.
Indiana public schools say they are following guidance from the governor’s health department in either forcing children to wear masks despite their near-zero risks from Covid or sending home for many days all “close contacts” of children who test positive for Covid-19.
These rules have led to a third school year of constant learning disruptions, restrictions on healthy people, the presumption that students and teachers are sick unless they prove otherwise, and discrimination against children whose parents have not chosen to risk the potential aftereffects of a Covid vaccine given children’s near-zero risk from infection.
Research has also established for decades that schooling disruptions harm children’s academic achievement. Academic achievement affects people’s lifetime earnings, mental health, taxes contributed, marriage and family stability, and more. There will be effects from these lockdowns for decades, if not centuries, and they all could have been prevented.
Suicide rate by age:
5-11 Pre-COVID: 0.17/100,000
That’s a 3,000 percent jump as kids age. Now consider that suicides among 5-11 year olds tripled during lockdowns. https://t.co/sAfbLqmQ3s
— F. Bill McMorris (@FBillMcMorris) January 6, 2022
Instead, Hoosier lawmakers and public officials are still perpetuating these serious harms to the next generation of children under their authority. A state bill that would end forced masking in schools, H.B. 1040, has been referred to committee, where it is likely to die without receiving even an open vote. Face masks are extremely unpoplar in Indiana, especially in schools, and only a minority of Hoosiers wear them unless forced.
A bill to end the state of emergency that undergirds the governor’s Covid restrictions is considered likely to pass but it does nothing about masks and it’s an open question whether the bill will ultimately include any protections against medical discrimination, which the governor opposes. A version that modestly protects some Hoosiers from retaliation for their private medical decisions, H.B. 1001, passed the House this week but reportedly faces an uphill battle in the state Senate.
Indiana’s Republican Party is largely run by Chamber of Commerce types despite the large gap between that special interest’s priorities and those of Hoosier voters, which became a nationwide scandal with the legislature’s reversal of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2015. That gap has only gotten wider in the Covid era, as Holcomb has governed through executive orders proclaiming a state of emergency and corresponding suspensions of Hoosiers’ rights and normal lives for two straight years.
The state legislature’s repeated refusal to stand up for their voters has prompted an unprecedented wave of primary challenges to Republican officeholders in a state with a supermajority-Republican legislature. So far, the Indiana secretary of state’s office reports 21 primary challengers to House Republicans, with approximately three weeks to go before the filing deadline of Feb. 4. Indiana’s new, grassroots Liberty Defense PAC has announced it’s recruited more than 200 candidates in this election cycle throughout the state, including for more than half the 100 state House seats.
“I really trusted that our representatives were representing us…but these last two years have shown me otherwise,” Brittany Carroll, a lawyer and Republican primary challenger in a district south of Indianapolis, told Inside Sources recently. Carroll and her family moved from Oregon to Indiana for freedom, and discovered she still had to fight for it in a red state.
Another primary challenger, Lorissa Sweet, is taking on Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington, who as chairman of the House Rules Committee has repeatedly killed conservative bills, including bills to end Indiana’s two-year state of emergency. Leonard has been in office for 20 years.
“Dan Leonard has had the opportunity to hear [Covid-19 emergency powers] bills in his committee…and he’s killed the bill every single time. For me, that’s a big deal,” Sweet told Inside Sources.