3 parents file lawsuit seeking to invalidate Bentonville School District mask mandate

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Three parents have filed a lawsuit in the Benton County Circuit Court seeking to invalidate the Bentonville School District’s mask mandate.

The lawsuit claims the mask requirement, which was passed by a vote of the Bentonville School Board on August 11, was “implemented without legal authority, and in violation of the parents’ and students’ fundamental liberty interest as recognized by the United States Supreme Court.”

The rule requires all students in the Bentonville School District ages three and up to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.

“Because of this illegal act by the school board, parents must choose whether to send their children back to school without masks and face disciplinary action, or with masks against their will at their risk of their psyco-social needs and developmental milestones,” said The Story Law Firm in a press release announcing the lawsuit.

According to court records, the parents filing the lawsuit are Matt Sitton, Matthew Bennett, and Elizabeth Bennett.

Travis Story, the attorney representing the parents, said parents should have the final say on whether or not their child wears a mask to school.

“The school district while maybe trying to do well and good simply has overstepped their authority and that’s totally what this lawsuit is about,” Story said.

“We were made aware of this situation Thursday morning. Our legal counsel is currently reviewing the matter and we look forward to a vigorous defense of our district,” said Bentonville Schools communication director Leslee Wright on Thursday.

Story said the lawsuit focuses on the legal authority surrounding the Bentonville School District’s mask requirement.

“We’re not anti-mask here, we’re anti the school district overstepping their bounds,” Story said.

On Thursday Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he expects the lawsuit will play out in court.

“It looks to me like from a litigation standpoint this will wind up in the Arkansas Supreme Court for a decision,” Hutchinson said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

Click the image to view the full lawsuit below:

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