ARIZONA NEWS

Teacher sues Valley school district over face mask mandate

Aug 3, 2021, 3:44 PM | Updated: 9:27 pm

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Union High School District)...

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Union High School District)

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Union High School District)

PHOENIX — A teacher is suing the Phoenix Union High School District over its decision to implement a mask mandate when classes began Monday for the fall semester.

Douglas Hester, a biology teacher at Metro Tech High School, said in the lawsuit the mask requirement goes against state law.

A law passed as part of the fiscal year 2022 budget bans mask mandates in Arizona — including in schools — and is retroactive to June 30.

“Regardless of where you come down on the mask issue, that’s not the question,” Alexander Kolodin, Hester’s attorney, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday. “The question is once the Legislature has made a law, does the government have to follow it?”

Phoenix Union Superintendent Chad Geston argued Friday the district went against the law in an effort to keep students in classrooms, a sentiment reiterated Tuesday in response to the lawsuit.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in Arizona due to the prevalence of the delta variant.

“We stand behind our decision to require masks at this time, and remain steadfast in our commitment to do all we can to protect our staff, students, families and broader community,” the district said in a statement.

Gov. Doug Ducey hasn’t taken action against Phoenix Union or other districts who have defied the law, including the Phoenix Elementary School District.

Ducey’s office said districts who buck the law have no merit.

“Gov. Ducey believes the decision by Phoenix Union requiring masks has no teeth. It’s not allowed under Arizona law. It’s unenforceable,” Ducey’s office said in a statement to KTAR News on Friday. “Arizona is not anti-mask, we’re anti-mask mandate.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Andrew Ormsby, 22, was arrested on Wednesday, police said. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office photo)...

KTAR.com

Phoenix police arrest man accused of fatally shooting victim found in West Valley alley

Andrew Ormsby, 22, was arrested on Wednesday for his involvement in the shooting death of Roy Orozco, 24, Phoenix police said.

4 hours ago

Guests mill about at a previous Guild Indian Fair & Market on the grounds of the Heard Museum in Ph...

KTAR.com

Heard Museum in Phoenix holding 66th annual Guild Indian Fair & Market this weekend

The Heard Museum in Phoenix is holding its signature event this weekend, the 66th annual Guild Indian Fair & Market.

6 hours ago

This undated image provided by Mikel Desmond shows his brother Marcus Tessier, who turned up in Dem...

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona.

8 hours ago

FILE - A group of migrants walk along the border in a remote part of the Arizona desert as they joi...

Associated Press

Bill in Arizona would punish migrants who enter country illegally

Republicans in Arizona are broadcasting a tough border stance with legislation aimed at punishing migrants who enter the United States illegally.

9 hours ago

Mugshot of Brandie Gotch, who faces multiple charges for an alleged rampage against children at a P...

Kevin Stone

West Valley mom accused of driving through park, injuring a child, while her kids were in truck

A woman was arrested Tuesday for allegedly driving her pickup truck through a West Valley park and hitting a child after she thought her kids were being bullied.

11 hours ago

Three former Arizona Department of Education employees are accused of obtaining funds from the stat...

KTAR.com

Former Arizona education employees accused of stealing money from ESA program

Three former Arizona Department of Education employees are accused of obtaining funds from the state's school voucher program for personal use, authorities announced Thursday.

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Teacher sues Valley school district over face mask mandate