Supreme Court takes up effort to block school closures in Racine – Wisconsin Examiner

20November 2020

Gavel courtroom sitting vacant
“Gavel”Getty Images imaginative The Wisconsin Supreme Court has actually given the Racine public health department till 4 p.m. on Monday to respond to a petition by School Choice Wisconsin, a private-school lobbying group, to obstruct the closure of Racine schools as part of a public health order seeking to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The City of Racine Public Health Department released the order on November 12, closing all public and private school buildings from November 27 to January 15.

School Choice Wisconsin, together with a group of personal and spiritual schools and four Racine moms and dads are seeking to block the order, taking their case directly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Wisconsin Institute for Law & & Liberty (WILL) is representing the complainants, seeking an original action by the state's greatest court and an injunction on the general public health order.

“The Wisconsin Supreme Court took our legal challenge and provided an injunction when Dane County illegally attempted to close all schools,” Wisconsin Institute for Law & & Liberty counsel Rick Esenberg, who is representing School Choice Wisconsin and the other plaintiffs in the event, stated in a declaration. “Because the problems presented in Racine are so similar, it is our hope the Court will take the initial action and provide a similar injunction in Racine while the Dane County case is under factor to consider.”

In its court filings, WILL argues that “local health officers have the power to check schools but not the power to close them.”

“Once again, and in conflict of state statutes and constitutional assurances, a city government bureaucrat has actually forbidden Wisconsin parents from sending their own children to get in-person direction in privately owned and run schools, mentioning the COVID-19 pandemic as validation,” the emergency petition states.

Other petitioners in the case include Wisconsin Council of Religious & & Independent Schools, EverGreen Academy, Racine Christian School, Racine Lutheran High School, St. John's Lutheran Church & & School, Trinity Lutheran School, Ethan Bickle, Andrea Thunhorst, Ryan Thunhorst, and Elaine Wilson.

Since the Supreme Court is still considering a comparable lawsuit versus a public health order closing schools in Dane County, and has actually briefly told the order, concurring that the petitioners in that case are “most likely to succeed on the merits of their argument” that local public health officials violated their authority, the court needs to follow the same path in Racine, the emergency situation petition argues.

Racine instructors disagree.

“The top concern needs to be keeping students and personnel safe until the pandemic is under control,” Angelina Cruz, a Racine teacher and president of the Racine Educators United (REU), the teachers union, stated in a statement.

“Racine instructors remain in full assistance of the Racine City Health Department's decision to move completely to virtual learning after November 23,” she added, calling the public health order “a responsible decision, grounded in science and public health.””Racine instructors

are dedicated to working with Racine Unified School District leaders to ensure remote knowing continues to work well for students,”Cruz stated.” Educators want nothing more than to be in our classrooms with students, however it's not safe today.”

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