District judge sides with Charleston County School District over face mask mandate, denies motion for temporary injunction

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston County School District can enforce its mask mandate, a district judge ruled Monday.

The decision from 9th Circuit Court Judge Bentley Price comes after a group of parents filed a motion last week for an emergency temporary injunction and restraining order prohibiting CCSD from enforcing its mask mandate.

“I am very pleased with the judge’s decision, and I view the ruling as an affirmation of our Board’s commitment to the health and safety of our students through enforcement of our facemask policy,” said CCSD Board of Trustees Chair Rev. Dr. Eric Mack. “Hopefully, this will allow everyone, regardless of their stance on wearing facemasks, to get back to a renewed focus on our students’ education.”

According to court documents, parents who filed the motion said they believed CCSD’s mask mandate violated state Proviso 1.108 – enacted into law back in June – which states “no school district, or any of its schools, may use any funds appropriated or authorized pursuant to this act to require that its students and/or employees wear a facemask at any of its educational facilities.”

The Proviso was also upheld by the South Carolina Supreme Court on September 2nd in a unanimous decision stemming from a case against the City of Columbia, stating the “ultimate decision” to mask a child is the parent’s choice and not that of a local government or school board.

The Charleston County School District announced the enforcement of its mask mandate would be done “without any funds appropriated or authorized by the General Assembly’s 2021-22 Appropriations Act, through October 15,” which would keep CCSD in compliance with State Budget Proviso 1.108.

Plaintiffs, though, are seeking a court order declaring CCSD’s mask mandate as “unenforceable” because they say it does conflict with Proviso 1.108 and the SC Supreme Court’s ruling.

“Plaintiffs have suffered and are likely to continue to suffer immediate irreparable harm without the issuance of an injunction and restraining order,” court documents stated.

Attorneys representing the plaintiffs attempted to appeal to the South Carolina Supreme Court Monday, but the Supreme Court “kicked back” the filing, saying the group must wait until the judge signs and files the full decision to make the appeal.

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