7 deep-blue districts sue GOP Gov. Youngkin to uphold school mask mandates in Virginia

Glenn Youngkin
(Image credit: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Seven Virginia school boards filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block Gov. Glenn Youngkin's (R) executive order ending the commonwealth's public school mask mandate, Axios reported.

The executive order, which Youngkin issued on his first day in office, would place masking decisions in the hands of parents.

According to the lawsuit, this would be unsafe as children are "a source of COVID-19 transmission, and ... therefore, present a risk of spreading COVID-19 to parents, teachers, school staff, the community, and other children."

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The seven plaintiff districts — which together serve over 350,000 students — are Alexandria City, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Falls Church City, Hampton City, Prince William County, and Richmond City.

Five of the seven are located in the Democratic stronghold of Northern Virginia. Youngkin lost all seven jurisdictions by large margins, according to election data provided by CNN.

When Youngkin defeated former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) last November, exit polling data showed that voters ranked education as their top issue, NPR reported.

In a statement released Friday, Youngkin said he was "confident that the Virginia Supreme Court will rule in the favor of parents, reaffirming the parental rights clearly laid out in the Virginia code § 1-240.1."

The portion of the Virginia state code Youngkin referenced states that "[a] parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent's child."

Youngkin also said that until the Virginia Supreme Court hands down its ruling, parents should "listen to their principal, and trust the legal process."

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Grayson Quay

Grayson Quay was the weekend editor at TheWeek.com. His writing has also been published in National Review, the Pittsburgh Post-GazetteModern AgeThe American ConservativeThe Spectator World, and other outlets. Grayson earned his M.A. from Georgetown University in 2019.