An Arkansas judge on Friday temporarily blocked the state from enforcing a ban on mask mandates, including public schools, after lawmakers left the prohibition in place.
Article by Jack Phillips from our news partners at The Epoch Times.
Pulaski County Judge Tim Fox issued a preliminary injunction against the mandate, saying that it discriminated between public and private schools. The order came several hours after Arkansas’s state Legislature ended a special session and didn’t vote on the ban on mask mandates.
Fox, who was elected, wrote his opinion in response to the parents of two school-age children who claimed the ban on masks violates the rights of children in public schools.
The law “cannot be enforced in any shape, fashion or form” pending further court action, Fox wrote.
In April, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, signed Act 1002, which prevented government agencies and schools from enforcing COVID-19 mask mandates. The governor requested the special session to overturn the ban on mask mandates, claiming that surge in the Delta variant made him change his mind on the rule.
But Republican lawmakers said they opposed the recent proposal from Hutchinson, who has faced significant criticism from fellow Republicans in his state over other issues in recent months.
The governor, who has said he regretted signing the ban into law, said he agreed with Fox’s decision but didn’t plan to reimpose the statewide mask mandate he lifted in March. He also criticized lawmakers who opposed taking action, saying many of them had taken a “casual, if not cavalier, attitude” toward COVID-19.
“What concerns me is many are simply listening to the loudest voices and not standing up with compassion, common sense, and serious action,” he told reporters Friday.
Before that, he wrote on Twitter that he was unhappy with a GOP-led legislative committee when lawmakers voted against removing the ban on masks.
“It is conservative, reasonable and compassionate to allow local school districts to protect those students who are under 12 and not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine,” Hutchinson wrote. “If we are going to have a successful school year, then the local school districts need to have flexibility to protect those who are at risk.”
The Republican sponsor of the mask mandate ban said he thinks the state needs to focus on other ways to address outbreaks in schools, such as leave for teachers who have to quarantine.
“What I don’t want is this false sense of security that masks seem to be providing because it’s an easy political tool,” said Republican Sen. Trent Garner. “Let’s come up with the real solutions when this happens in our schools, and I think we’re woefully inadequate on that.”
Critics of school mask mandates have said that forcing children to wear face coverings for hours on end in schools may do more harm than good.
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, who worked with Florida’s government, told The Epoch Times earlier this year, while citing studies, that “in the case of masks, the evidence that children spread the disease even without a mask is that they’re much less efficient spreaders. It’s not like the flu where children actually are efficient spreaders of the disease.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The Dangers of Speaking the Truth Diminish If We Work Together
It’s becoming harder and harder for patriots to ignore the deep suppression of truth that’s happening in America today.
In all of my years in journalism, I have never received as many threats or been attacked by big companies like Google and Facebook as I have in 2021. I’d say that ever since we started covering widespread voter fraud, government-endorsed Pandemic Panic Theater, vaccine cover-ups, Critical Race Theory, and the various Neo-Marxist and Satanic agendas at play, I’ve been targeted more in months than the entirety of my life prior.
Speaking the truth is getting harder with so much censorship and suppression rampant. Prior to 2020, I was not a “conspiracy theorist” or an “anti-vaxxer,” but if there’s one thing the onslaught of exposed lies have taught us in the last 18 months, it’s that we cannot take what we’re told by the “arbiters of truth” at face value. There’s an agenda behind every message, a narrative driving every story, and a series of gigantic cover-ups designed to keep the masses in the dark.
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I hate being “that guy” who asks people to donate because I think our conservative news network is so crucial, but here I am…
When I left my cushy corporate job in 2017, I did so knowing that my family would have to make sacrifices. But I couldn’t continue to watch the nation slip into oblivion and was inspired by President Trump’s willingness to fight the good fight even at his own personal expense. What I didn’t realize then is that conservative media would be so heavily attacked, canceled, and defunded that the sacrifices would be extreme.
Many in this nation are struggling right now even though we weren’t struggling just a few years ago. I’m not alone. But I wake up every morning and operate the sites we’ve been able to build because there’s really no other choice. I refuse to be beholden to Big Tech like so many other conservative news outlets, which is why you won’t see Google ads here. With that said, it’s often challenging to pay the bills and it’s even harder to expand so we can get the America First message out to a wider audience.
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