FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Rogers lawyer said he plans to represent parents in a lawsuit against Act 1002, which bans mask mandates for state and local governments in Arkansas. Friday, decisionmakers in the Fayetteville School District announced they will soon discuss whether to join that lawsuit.
Justin Eichmann is on Fayetteville’s school board. He said superintendent Dr. John L. Colbert and school board president Nika Waitsman discussed bringing this up after hearing from parents. Act 1002 also prohibits school districts from enacting mandates. The COVID-19 Delta variant continues to increase hospitalizations and deaths amongst Arkansans, even younger ones.
Since kids younger than 12 cannot yet get the vaccine, Eichmann said parents are concerned.
“They want the ability for a local school district to be able to be responsive,” Eichmann said. “I’m sure other board members have received communications, as well, but I’ve received quite a few over the past couple weeks.”
State Sen. Trent Garner (R) sponsored Act 1002, and in a statement, he said he was confident the law would stand.
“I’m confident in our law that it will stand up in court,” Garner said in the statement. “I’m not surprised about Fayetteville, with its extremist policies, would try to force a mask mandate on people, but this is about public health and safety.”
In a statement, Fayetteville Public Schools spokesperson Alan Wilbourn said nothing’s been decided yet.
“No decision has been made regarding Fayetteville Public Schools joining the lawsuit challenging Act 1002, which banned mask requirements by certain public entities,” Wilbourn said in the statement. “Any decision concerning whether the school district will intervene in the lawsuit would require school board action. A discussion item regarding the lawsuit will be placed on the July 29, 2021, school board meeting agenda.”