Brooklyn, NY, Sept. 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — On September 8, Attorney Sujata Gibson along with Children’s Health Defense (CHD) Board Chair Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and General Counsel Mary Holland filed a motion for emergency relief in Federal Court against the Franklin Square Union Free School District and New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the parent of 11-year-old “Sarah Doe” who suffers from asthma and other serious underlying conditions. Sarah’s pediatrician determined it is unsafe for Sarah to wear a mask all day and wrote her a medical exemption. On September 2, the School District rejected it.
“This denial violates Sarah’s fundamental constitutional rights,” says Gibson. “It is well established that the state cannot condition acceptance of a medical exemption written by a state-licensed doctor on consent of the state or any third party.”
According to the complaint, the school district told Sarah’s mother that they do not honor medical exemptions. Attorneys for the district referenced an internet search revealing boilerplate generalized guidance that people with asthma should protect themselves from COVID-19 by wearing masks and washing their hands as the basis for denial.
“’Sarah just wants to return to class, and be able to breathe without further harassment,” said Attorney Gibson, the lead attorney on the case. “With all due respect to the internet, Sarah and her mother would prefer to get medical advice from Sarah’s lifelong pediatrician.”
Sarah has been hospitalized more than once as a result of her asthma attacks. The lawsuit asserts that in addition to violating Sarah’s constitutional rights and safety, Commissioner Zucker’s mandate is unlawful as federal law requires masks to be optional.
“Masks are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are only allowed for use by children pursuant to Emergency Use Authorization,” says Mary Holland, co-counsel on the case. “It is black letter law that EUA devices, including masks, cannot be mandated at all, let alone mandated for children with medical exemptions from their doctors.”
The lawsuit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief so that Sarah can safely return to school this week.
Children’s Health Defense is devoted to the health of people and our planet. Our mission is to end the childhood health epidemics by working aggressively to eliminate harmful exposures, hold those responsible accountable, and establish safeguards to prevent future harm.