State appeals federal ruling in Williamson masking case

Posted at 6:02 PM, Oct 26, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — In a one-page filing, the State of Tennessee's attorney general has requested an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in a case regarding whether two school systems have the right to mandate masks in Williamson County.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery asked for a preliminary injunction for Gov. Bill Lee's opt-order to go into effect, where previously the court wouldn't allow for it.

Parents from Williamson County Schools and the Franklin Special School District sued Lee because of his opt-order on behalf of their students. A lawsuit filed on behalf of a 13-year-old girl with Down syndrome and a 7-year-old girl with Type 1 diabetes argued Williamson County school buildings and buses were not safe for students with special needs.

The parents argued the opt-order affected differently-abled children in both systems and violated federal disability laws. So far, U.S. District Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw Jr. has agreed with the parents, most recently as Friday after the governor recently extended his mask opt-out order through November.

Federal judges have blocked the order from being implemented in Knox, Shelby and Williamson counties. Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery said he was pursuing appeals in Shelby and Knox counties.