Cobb parents drop lawsuit against district over student mask mandate

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Six Cobb County parents who sued the school district over mask requirements for students in classrooms are dropping their lawsuit, according to their attorneys.

The decision comes after Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to sign an executive order to restrict public schools from imposing mask mandates.

“He understands the physical and psychological danger that these kids were in having to wear a mask eight hours a day,” Mitch Skandalakis, an attorney for the families, said of Kemp. He said the parents’ case will not go forward “as we have won.”

A Cobb County School District spokeswoman previously told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it was confident that “the facts and law will speak for themselves.” On Friday, the spokeswoman said the district wanted the facts to be argued in court, “not social or traditional media.”

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In early May, the school district said it no longer required masks for vaccinated students and staff. Superintendent Chris Ragsdale also said in a recent statement that said he expects mask will be optional when the new school year begins Aug. 2.

The parents in April filed a request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the district’s mask requirement for students and its contract tracing policy for confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The parents’ complaint alleged that mask mandates don’t stop the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 and the district’s contact tracing policy violates student privacy under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

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U.S. District Court Judge Thomas W. Thrash Jr. earlier this month rejected the plaintiffs’ request. Attorney Robert Madayag, who also represented the parents, said they offered information from studies showing prolonged mask use was harmful.

“Our clients did their homework and were prepared to take on the public angst and ire because they cared about their children,” he said.

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend schools stick with their current COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Its most recent guidance to schools state masks should be work at all times by everyone in school buildings, with exceptions set aside for eating and drinking.