COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa. (KMTV) — Fran Parr has two sons in the Council Bluffs Community School District. They aren't attending school in-person because Parr feels "the bad outweighs the good." She's suing the Iowa governor and departments of education and health over a ban on school mask mandates.
"We're shouldering a burden here and we'll do it because we love our kids and we love our families but dang, that sometimes gets glossed over," Parr said.
Filing this lawsuit, Parr says, wasn't something she wanted to do.
"Oh, totally incomprehensible," Parr said. "I'm a mom who wants to do cross stitch for crying out loud, I don't want to be involved in a tangle with the dang Governor, no thank you."
Parr's attorney, Dan McGinn says the statute that prohibits school boards from issuing mask mandates is unconstitutional and violates the Equal Protection Clause.
"It doesn't apply to colleges. If you look at our colleges, there are students there under the age of 18, as well. Colleges can still do a ban, it also doesn't cover daycares. Daycares can do a ban, it doesn't cover also private schools," McGinn said.
McGinn hopes the lawsuit points the defendants in the right direction.
"Well, if we can get to a point where we come up with a safety plan, that would be great. Specifically, how that happens I don't know at this point," McGinn said. "But by filing the lawsuit against the different departments, it does force them to pay attention to this and get together."
Parr hopes her actions resonate with state leaders.
"I'm not under some delusion we'll have a utopian path forward, that if we all wear masks nobody's gonna get sick," Parr said. "The way masking and those measures were proven last year can be applied again this year. If we use our heads will help us get a path forward."
3 News Now reached out to Gov. Kim Reynolds' spokesperson for a statement.
“In Iowa, our schools have been open safely and responsibly since August of last year. We now have the vaccine for adults and children over 12, with 65.4% of the eligible population in our state receiving at least one dose. These vaccines are the best tool to protect against Covid-19, and we encourage every eligible person to get one.
Wearing masks is also a mitigation strategy that parents and students have the option to use. But long-term mask use can come with its own cost. Experts have raised concerns about the potential negative impact to students’ social, behavioral, and speech development. And they’ve noted that cloth face masks can become vectors for pathogens when they’re not used and washed properly. Ultimately, parents know the health of their children best - which is why the Governor supports parental choice over mandates.”
- Pat Garrett, spokesman for the governor’s office