Schmitt seeks temporary restraining orders in mask lawsuits

January 31, 2022 GMT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is seeking temporary restraining orders to halt mask mandates in three of the 45 mask-requiring school districts he has sued, and his office said additional requests will follow.

The motions announced Monday ask judges to halt mask mandates at Columbia Public Schools, St. Charles School District and Ferguson-Florissant School District. A news release said more restraining order requests are “on the way,” but didn’t say when or how many. A message seeking further information wasn’t immediately returned.

Schmitt sued the nearly four dozen districts earlier in January, saying parents should be the ones making health decisions for children. He also has questioned the effectiveness of masks, although experts agree that masks slow the spread of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found strong evidence that mask mandates help.

Some school leaders and elected officials have accused Schmitt of a political ploy. He is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Senate in the August primary election.

It wasn’t immediately clear when judges would rule on the temporary restraining order requests.