Judge issues summary judgment in civil lawsuit against SCSD2

By: 
Via the Wyoming News Exchange

SHERIDAN (WNE) — Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Darci Phillips issued a summary judgment Sept. 22 in a civil case brought forward by parents of students in Sheridan County School District 2 who questioned the district’s authority to implement and enforce mask mandates and quarantine requirements during the COVID pandemic.

Phillips ruled SCSD2’s enactment of the rules were permissible under Wyoming law and did not deprive parents of their right to make health care decisions on behalf of their children or deny them their right to a free public education.

The petitioners who filed the case have not ruled out appealing the decision to the Wyoming Supreme Court, according to their attorney Carrie Sisson.

In her summary judgment, Phillips ruled the plan enacted by SCSD2 did not deprive the parents of the right to make health care decisions or parent their children.

“Curiously, Parents acknowledge that SCSD2 does maintain authority, in some circumstances, to enact policies and rules that would have the effect of promoting the health and safety of its students,” Phillips wrote. “… At the hearing held on this matter, the Parents further conceded that requiring helmets — a piece of equipment analogous to a medical device — during sporting events falls squarely within the school district’s power to ensure students are protected while engaged in school activities.”

In addition, Phillips said SCSD2’s plan did not violate the families’ right to free public education. 

She stated that while the parents who filed the lawsuit clearly took issue with how SCSD2 executed its policies and procedures, “dissatisfaction with board governance is not the same thing as denial of an opportunity.” 

Phillips granted SCSD2’s motion for summary judgment and ordered that the petitioners’ request for declaratory judgment and for damages for deprivation of rights be dismissed without prejudice.

 

This story was published on Sept. 26, 2022.

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