(The Center Square) – The attorney looking for judgment against 22 school districts and the Pritzker administration over COVID-19 mandates on behalf of 90 teachers and school staff members said the case is about individual rights and due process.
Attorney Thomas DeVore filed the case in Sangamon County Circuit Court. The districts include Chicago Public Schools to schools in the Springfield area and beyond. The suit seeks judgment against vaccine or testing and mask mandates.
DeVore said the law requires due process for someone to be forced to be masked or to take a vaccine or test.
“And yet you have all these policies and mandates and stuff trying to coerce people in the most extraordinary ways to get them to do these things, threatening people’s financial livelihood if they don’t comply, and the law doesn’t allow it,” DeVore told WMAY. “It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Teachers’ jobs have been threatened if they don’t comply.
DeVore said Gov. J.B. Pritzker is included in the suit, alongside more than 20 schools, because it’s his mandates that put teachers in what he said was an untenable situation.
“What he tries to do is weaponize these administrative agencies that he absolutely controls with an iron fist and tries to coerce them into putting our citizens into these positions that if you don’t comply, ‘we’re going to destroy your life,’” DeVore said.
Part of DeVore’s case says the mandates violate the Health Care Right of Conscience Act.
Pritzker signed a measure that beginning June 1 amends the decades-old law prohibiting discrimination against people that object to COVID-19 medical procedures.
DeVore downplayed the measure as a declaration.
“What they passed was not an amendment to the Health Care Right of Conscience Act,” DeVore said. “It absolutely means nothing and has no legal impact on the law.”
Critics of the law, which narrowly passed with bipartisan opposition, say “This Section is a declaration of existing law and shall not be construed as a new enactment.”
Pritzker and supporters of the measure say it’s meant to clarify that enforcing mitigations of COVID-19 is carved out of the law.
DeVore has similar pending challenges against schools over mask and exclusion policies impacting students that have been consolidated into Sangamon County.