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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Appellate Court Vacates TRO Enjoining School Mask Mandate

Last month, a group of parents of students who attend school in the Bond County Community School District filed a lawsuit and a petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the school district's mandate that students wear a mask while indoors at school. On September 21, 2021, the circuit court entered an order granting the parents' petition for a TRO, enjoining the school from requiring the students from wearing masks on school property without parental consent or a lawful order of quarantine having been issued against a particular student from the local health department. The school district appealed.

In Lurkins v. Bond County Community School Dist., the 5th District Appellate Court vacated the TRO because the parents failed to name the Governor, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) as party defendants. The Appellate Court determined that these state officials/agencies are "necessary parties" in the case because the parents were challenging a mask mandate that was imposed by the Governor's Executive Order, as well as guidance issued by both the ISBE and the IDPH. Because the Governor and the two state agencies have an interest in this matter that would be materially affected by any ruling in the case, the Appellate Court found that their participation is required. Since the TRO was issued without these necessary parties, the Appellate Court found the TRO void and vacated it. The case was remanded back to the circuit court.


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