Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Mask-In-School Requirement Challenged On Free Exercise Grounds

Suit was filed last week in an Ohio state trial court challenging as too narrow the religious exemption from Ohio's COVID-19 mask requirement in schools. The complaint (full text) in Miller v. Himes, (Putnam Cty. Com Pl., filed Sept. __, 2020), contends that the exemption for students "when an established sincerely held religious requirement exists which does not permit a facial covering" violates their free exercise rights. A school district denied an exemption to one of the plaintiffs even though she had a sincerely held religious belief  opposing masks. The district took the position that a belief is different from a religious requirement.  The suit also challenges the school mask requirement on various other grounds, including compelled speech and parental rights claims. Cincinnati Enquirer reports on the lawsuit.