The lawsuits claim that some districts have violated students’ constitutional rights by rescinding mask mandates.
A Wisconsin brewery is planning to fund a round of class action lawsuits against local school districts it believes is not doing enough to protect school-children from coronavirus.
According to Wisconsin Public Radio, the first lawsuit was filed by a Minocqua Brewery Company-owned super-PAC. The complaint, submitted to the state’s Eastern District, alleges that children in Waukesha School District have contracted coronavirus because its administrators allow symptomatic students to attend class without wearing masks. W.P.R. notes that Waukesha’s school board lifted most of their COVID-19 prevention policies in mid-May.
Minocqua Brewing Company owner Kirk Bangstad said attorneys are now working to compile a list of potential defendants, and that another, similar lawsuit will be filed in Wisconsin’s Western District.
“Basically, every school district that is not Milwaukee, Madison, or some others that have had the courage to do what is right, which is few and far between in the state of Wisconsin,” Bangstad told Wisconsin Public Radio.
Bangstad told the station he began considering a round of lawsuits after a Hudson School Board member told him that they were facing recall after proposing that children wear masks in class.
Bangstad said that his decision is not political, and has since asked local parents to share their stories about Wisconsin schools’ unsafe coronavirus policies.
Shannon Jensen, named as a lead plaintiff in the Waukesha class action, said that her kids continued wearing masks to school in September, even though they were not required. Shortly after the fall semester commenced, a student came to school with coronavirus-like symptoms.
That student was not wearing a mask.
The next day, the student still felt unwell and visited an in-school nurse at least twice; he was eventually sent home.
Three days later, both of Jensen’s children tested positive for COVID-19.
In its lawsuit, the Minocqua Brewing Company’s super-PAC says that districts like Waukesha have thrown students into a pandemic “snake pit,” and are effectively violating children’s constitutional rights by failing to protect them from danger while they are in school.
Wisconsin Public Radio reports that, while Bangstad has already raised over $50,000 to pay for the parents’ attorneys, Waukesha Superintendent James Serbert said the district had yet to be formally served a copy of the lawsuit.
“We contacted our attorneys and on the advice of our counsel, we have been advised not to respond further at this time,” Serbert told Wisconsin Public Radio.
Writing on Facebook, Bangstad said that, as long his legal team is able to at least win a temporary injunction, it may still be enough to protect children in the short-term.
“If we get a temporary injunction in a few weeks, that money we raised might be enough and could buy Wisconsin schools a few months until the FDA approves the vaccine for children, at which point we wouldn’t need to continue the lawsuit,” Bangstad wrote.