AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — Amherst law firm HoganWillig has filed a lawsuit against New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the New York State Department of Health for requiring students, teachers, and staff to wear masks throughout the school year while receiving and providing in-person instruction.
The lawsuit is representing petitioners which include New York State Senator George M. Borello (R-Jamestown), Niagara County Legislator John Syracuse (R-Newfane), St. John Lutheran Church and School, NY Parents to Unmask Children Inc., and several individual parents on behalf of their minor children.
“Unfortunately, and incredibly, with the appearance of the COVID-19 virus in late 2019, the basic principle of separation of powers has seemingly vanished,” says Corey J. Hogan, lead attorney on the case. “Throughout this country, the legislative and judiciary branches have stepped back and allowed the executive branch at all levels of government to assume sole control of all government functions when it has any association with the COVID-19 virus and taken fundamental decision-making away from the individual” finishes Hogan.
“The expansive emergency powers granted to our former governor for a year and a half established a troubling precedent of government overreach that is proving very difficult to reverse,” said Senator Borrello. “The mask mandate for school children is a blatant example. In handing down this regulation, the Health Department exceeded its authority and is attempting to override the judgement of parents, many of whom are vehemently opposed to masking their children seven hours a day. If we don’t act, these dictates will continue, and eventually, there will be no turning back.”
All students, staff, and faculty are required to wear masks inside schools in New York State while receiving in-person instruction.