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Second Tennessee decide blocks Gov. Invoice Lee’s masks opt-out

A federal decide on Friday handed down a second blow to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee‘s contentious order permitting dad and mom to decide out of college mask necessities, ruling that Knox County Faculties should implement a masks mandate to assist defend kids with well being issues amid the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. District Choose J. Ronnie Greer’s choice additionally blocks Lee’s order from being carried out whereas the authorized battle continues to maneuver its method by courtroom.

That is the second time in every week that Lee’s order has been positioned on pause as households and advocates throughout the state have filed a handful of lawsuits amid spiking virus case numbers in colleges. In Shelby County, whereas the college district had carried out a strict masks mandate, a federal decide indefinitely banned Lee’s order after households argued the governor’s govt order endangered their kids.

Tenn. Governnor Bill Lee's opt out school mask mandate was struck down for the second time by a judge.

Tenn. Governnor Invoice Lee’s decide out college masks mandate was struck down for the second time by a decide. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg through Getty Pictures)


“It’s actual, and certain. Knox County college students are being contaminated proper now, every single day, at a charge of 162 college students every single day … and the specter of hurt is due to this fact (fast),” Greer wrote in his 56-page ruling.

A spokesperson for the lawyer common’s workplace didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Lee informed reporters Friday that he could not speak in regards to the particular litigation however identified that there had been a number of lawsuits in opposition to masks mandates.

“There are very robust opinions on either side of this. I believe that’s why the technique we took, which allowed districts to supply a requirement however gave dad and mom an opt-out, was a great way ahead,” Lee stated. “And we nonetheless imagine that’s the appropriate path.”

The lawsuit was filed by 4 households in Knox County who’ve kids with medical situations and are too younger to qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine. The swimsuit alleges that Lee and the Knox County Board of Training have failed to guard their disabled kids from the virus and damage their means to attend in-person courses by permitting others to decide out of a masks mandate.


Lee’s authorized workforce had fought to uphold his govt order by stating that Knox County’s college board had voted in opposition to adopting a masks mandate at first of the 2021-22 college 12 months. The Republican’s attorneys argued that “any time a state is enjoined by a courtroom from effectuating statutes enacted by representatives of its folks, it suffers a type of irreparable damage.”

Greer disagreed, asking “what about when an elected official’s actions frustrate a public entity searching for to prospectively adjust to the ADA, or with every other federal regulation? That is the difficulty on this case, and it’s one that’s itself fraught with issues over the ensures of a democratic course of.”


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