Judge Upholds NJ Mask Mandate in Schools
A group of New Jersey parents fighting to end Governor Phil Murphy's mask mandate in school has suffered a legal setback, but an attorney representing anti-mask parents says the lawsuit will go forward.
Attorney Bruce Afran, representing the group Free NJ Kids confirmed to New Jersey 101.5 Morning Host Bill Spadea that a judge refused to issue an immediate restraining order on Murphy's Executive order. However, Afran says the judge "spoke very favorably" and said he "sees a first amendment issue here."
The judge, Afran said, has ordered more discovery. One of the data points Afran continues to seek is how many children are hospitalized with COVID. He says the state wont reveal those numbers, "They (state health officials) wouldn't tell us." Afran speculated the number is "probably none" or "so small it (COVID) isn't a hazard."
Another meeting with the judge is scheduled for next Tuesday.
On their Facebook page, Free NJ Kids has been gathering stories of how kids are struggling with wearing a mask for several hours a day. They have claimed the mandate is a violation of First Amendment rights.
Several school districts initially pushed back on the mask mandate, but subsequently backed down after the Murphy administration threatened punitive actions. Murphy himself said he his mandate was not a "polite suggestion."
Parents have continued to protest at school board meetings and public gatherings, but there are also a large number of parents who support the mask mandate. A Monmouth University poll shows more than 60% of all parents agreed with Murphy's executive orders requiring all individuals to mask-up in school buildings.