FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Two Williamson County families have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Bill Lee for his executive order allowing families to opt out of wearing masks in schools.
The lawsuit, which also names the Williamson County School Board of Education and Franklin Special School District, says allowing families to voluntarily opt-out of wearing masks in schools violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
"Such an opt-out - exercised by large numbers of students - is so gaping that it has nullified the rights of students with disabilities who require masking of others in order to enjoy safe, fundamental, non-discriminatory access to their public institutions," the lawsuit says.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are families of school-aged children who have disabilities that leave them medically vulnerable to severe infection and/or death from COVID-19
"For these students to enjoy safe passage into their existing school buildings, classrooms and extracurricular activities, they require the reasonable modification of universal masking untethered to a purely voluntary parental opt-out," the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit is calling for court action to institute a mask mandate without a voluntary opt-out.
This week, a federal judge blocked Lee from allowing parents to opt out of school mask requirements in Shelby County after families in two Memphis suburbs sued.