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Orange County Board of Education to sue California Gov. Newsom over school closures

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Posted at 10:49 AM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 13:55:01-04

SANTA ANA, Calif. (CNS) - The Orange County Board of Education announced Wednesday that it has decided -- by a 4-0 vote -- to file a lawsuit against Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Public Health Officer to seek a court order that sets aside the state orders preventing public schools from holding in-person classes and resuming services on campus.

The vote came during a closed session Tuesday night, according to a statement.

The California Supreme Court has interpreted the California Constitution to require that California school children have a constitutional right to substantially equal opportunities for learning, and the governor's order will unequally burden the most underprivileged families of California, the bard's lawyers said in a statement.

The attorneys, Tyler & Bursch, LLP, of Murrieta in Riverside County, said they agreed to represent the board pro bono "to protect the vulnerable children in California."

The lawsuit will also be supported by the nonprofit legal organization, Advocates for Faith & Freedom.

"California children have a constitutional right to both an education and equal protection under the law. The governor denied them these rights and did so without adequately considering the disparate impact these restrictions would have on the disadvantaged," said attorney Jennifer Bursch of Tyler & Bursch, LLP. "We brought this lawsuit to protect the single mom and her children, children whose parents do not read or write English, and children with special needs.

"The governor's ban on in-person learning will cause tens of thousands of kids to fall through the cracks and, in many cases, will be harmed for life."

The Orange County Board of Education earlier this month approved a non-binding recommendation for reopening schools that would not require physical distancing or wearing masks. One of the county's largest districts, Santa Ana Unified, almost immediately rejected that advice, as did other school officials.

"The board majority's recommendations are not binding and La Habra City School District will not open our schools under these conditions," said that district's superintendent, Joanne Culverhouse. "The health and safety of our staff and students will guide the decisions we make for reopening our schools."