Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Friday filed a laundry list of lawsuits against three dozen state school districts that have implemented mask mandates.
The lawsuits were announced as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the county, leaving many workplaces, including schools, without the staff needed to operate.
Of the suits, 12 were filed against Kansas City area school districts.
Kansas City Public Schools
North Kansas City School District
Park Hill School District
Lee’s Summit R-7 School District
Holden R-III School District
Liberty 53 School District
Raytown C-2 School District
Center School District
Warrensburg R-VI School District
Hickman Mills C-1 School District
Grandview C-4 School District
Independence School District
So far this month, 62 school districts have had to shut down for at least a day, most because of surges in coronavirus cases, the state education department said Thursday, and several districts in the Kansas City metro have warned parents to prepare for closures if staff illnesses rise.
The attorney general, a Republican who is also running for U.S. Senate, has said previously that he would sue every school district in the state that maintained a mask mandate for students as part of a campaign promise to fight what he sees as government overreach.
Schmitt in court filings wrote that the districts “failed to consider the fact that the omicron variant is less likely to cause severe illness and death” and called the mask rules “arbitrary and capricious.”
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas on Twitter called the suits “nuisance litigation.”
“Kansas City government and I personally will evaluate all available methods to support our teachers and students,” he wrote. “Our state lawyer’s ongoing harassment of Missouri’s schools should be sanctioned by the State Bar.”
The Star’s Jeanne Kuang and Sarah Ritter contributed.