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Judge Rules Against Parents In Lawsuit Seeking Statewide School Mask Mandate

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A judge has ruled against a group of Minnesota parents who filed a lawsuit against the state and Gov. Tim Walz, seeking a statewide school mask mandate.

In court documents filed Tuesday, Judge Thomas Gilligan Jr. denied Parents Advocating for Safe Schools' motion for a temporary restraining order, which sought to require Walz and the Minnesota Department of Education to institute a mask mandate in all public K-12 schools.

"While this court is gravely concerned about the public health consequences of the failure of school districts to implement the guidance of the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health regarding the use of masks for children, teachers, and staff in K-12 public schools," the judge wrote in his ruling, "the judiciary cannot order a co-equal branch of government to exercise its discretionary, political judgment to implement a specific educational policy."

PASS' lawsuit also asked the court to order Walz to declare a peacetime emergency.

"This court has discovered no instance, however, where a district court has ever ordered a Governor to declare a peacetime emergency," the judge wrote. "This court will not be the first to do so."

Gilligan ruled that the relief PASS was seeking is a "non-justiciable political question."

"In summary, the courts are not the appropriate domain to dictate to the Governor that he must exercise his discretionary political power in a certain way," he wrote.

PASS is made up of parents in school districts that are not requiring masks this year. Their argument stemmed from the state constitution's provision that the state must provide students an "adequate" education. The parents said that includes schools having to be safe, and without masks, they say schools aren't safe.

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