JACKSONVILLE, Florida – A hearing in a federal lawsuit challenging the Duval County public school mask’s mandate was delayed on Friday after a conference the day before identified some jurisdictional issues.

A group of parents and students have filed a lawsuit against the Duval County School Board, claiming that the mask’s warrant violated a state law known as the “Parents Bill of Rights.” The problem identified by the court was that the plaintiff’s lawsuit was trying to continue under state law – in federal court.

“The Court held a status conference during which the Court discussed with the parties whether federal jurisdiction was properly invoked,” an order from District Judge Timothy Corrigan said. “The plaintiffs have sought leave to file an amended complaint either to clearly allege federal claims or to allege actions only under state law.”

The parent and student group that lodged the complaint also claims the students are injured by the mask’s warrant, citing “clinical and subclinical damage, including heat exhaustion, headaches, vomiting, and pain. ‘anxiety”. The complainants also claim to have been the victims of intimidation and threats “because of the exercise of their personal beliefs”.

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The district filed a motion to dismiss the case, describing it as “shotgun compliance,” a term that refers to the legal equivalent of throwing a number of separate arguments into the air in the hope one of them lands.

One example cited by district prosecutors was the plaintiff group’s repeated arguments that the masks have no effect on the spread of COVID-19, while also accusing the mask’s mandate of depriving children of “their opportunity to meet COVID-19 naturally in school and develop lifelong natural immunity to the virus and its variants.

District attorneys also say the DCSB is entitled to sovereign immunity from allegations that the mask warrant violates state law – and that school boards cannot be held responsible for operational negligence when ” at the policy and planning level ”are problematic.

Corrigan has given plaintiffs until Oct. 26 to file a new complaint with greater clarity as to whether they are suing under federal or state law. The DCSB will then have until October 29 to respond to this new request.

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