Central North Carolina parents file claims against school district liability insurance policies to end masking

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RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — Five local school districts will meet on Monday to decide whether students will continue to wear masks in the classroom.

There could be negative reactions at board meetings.

In Johnston and Wake counties, some parents have taken legal action against mask requirements.

In both districts, some parents have filed claims against school board liability insurance policies.

They said mask mandates in the classroom violate the Constitution and their oath of office.

Monday, the Johnston County School Board held a special meeting and decided to get rid of the limitations they had placed around the optional mask decision which will come into effect on February 21.

This is one of the reasons why some parents in this district filed a lawsuit against the council.

When Cara Chester went before the Johnston County School Board on February 8she came armed with a legal document, letting the board members know that she intended to file a claim against the school board’s insurance policy.

Policy is in place to ensure professional liability. It is common for school boards to have this measure, although it is not required in North Carolina.

“I’ve been trying to take the masks off the kids for a while,” Chester said.

Now they will be in Johnston County without any limitations.

The board said its decision was unrelated to Chester’s claim.

Ahead of Monday’s ruling, Chester told CBS 17 she received help from a website called “Bonds for the Win.”

The website offers tutorials to help parents file similar claims against their own local district school boards.

It’s the same forum Wake County parent Katie Long said in an online video that helped her with her claim against Wake County Schools in January.

Dan Bowling is a Senior Lecturer at Duke University School of Law.

“If I was advising a board member, I would say don’t worry about it,” he told CBS 17. “It’s sort of a Hail Mary.”

However, Bowling said some of those parents’ concerns had some merit.

“There are valid constitutional claims against government edicts and warrants,” Bowling explained. “There is a certain limit to what governments can do, to the rules they can establish. They can’t really dictate on a lot of these issues what they want.

He doesn’t understand why parents do this now.

“They’re almost irrelevant at this point, although they have some substance,” Bowling said. “We are seeing state after state, district after district dropping mask mandates.”

Wake County school officials told CBS 17 they had received six claims and their insurance company, Liberty Mutual, was looking into everything.

They will meet to discuss masks in March.

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