Virginia governor knocks school boards challenging order making masks optional

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Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin addresses supporters during an election night event at the Westfields Marriott Hotel in Chantilly, VA on Wednesday, November 3, 2021.
Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin addresses supporters during an election night event at the Westfields Marriott Hotel in Chantilly, VA on Wednesday, November 3, 2021.


Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) slammed local school boards that have launched legal challenges to his executive order that makes it optional for children in the state to wear masks in school.

Youngkin argued during an interview with conservative radio host John Fredericks on Monday that the school districts "aren't recognizing the rights of parents today."

"And oh, by the way, they haven't been recognizing the rights of parents all along. So I'm not surprised at all to hear these reactions from school boards that have consistently prioritized bureaucrats and politicians over the rights of parents," he said.

Seven Virginia school boards filed a lawsuit against Youngkin on Monday, aiming to block his executive order that bans mask mandates in local classrooms.

The school boards, led by Fairfax County Public Schools, have requested an injunction and argue that the order violates the state constitution, which says "The supervision of schools in each school division shall be vested in a school board."

"What I'm telling parents today is, trust the legal process ... love your neighbor ... [and] listen to your principle," the Virginia governor told Fredericks.

Youngkin also encouraged parents of school-aged children to report school officials to a tip line if they experience "any instances where they feel that their fundamental rights are being violated" or if they find officials teaching "divisive" subjects.

"We're asking for folks to send us reports and observations that they have," Youngkin said. "We're going to make sure we catalogue it all."

Youngkin has supported legislation to ban critical race theory from being taught in Virginia classrooms and made education a major issue of his gubernatorial campaign. Critical race theory is a college-level legal framework that posits that systemic racism is part of U.S. history and society.

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