Parents who have joined a lawsuit challenging California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) order to keep most schools shuttered in the state in the wake of the coronavirus are speaking out about how the decision is impacting their children, especially those with special needs who depend on in-person services to successfully learn.
“My three boys are not receiving an appropriate education,” Christine Ruiz, who lives in Santa Clarita, California, told Breitbart News. “I have two sons with special needs, one with severe autism and one with higher functioning autism.”
“My two sons with special needs have been separated from their school support resources,” Ruiz said. “They receive critical support services at school in the form of speech, occupational therapy, socialization, behavioral support, just to name some.”
“These boys are hands-on learners in conjunction with their support team plus teachers who have vast experience in special education,” Ruiz said. “With the school closures, their education now consists of webinars and clicking on links.”
“This is not an education,” Ruiz said. “We are left to languish. Our children’s education in addition to mental health needs are being profoundly affected in the most dangerous way.”
Ruiz told Breitbart News that she believes long-term lockouts from school could have lasting negative consequences.
“Our entire educational system is at a standstill,” Ruiz said. “This is extremely dangerous for special education students in regards to regression.”
“Regression will set them back irrevocably,” Ruiz said. “This will and can affect them now and for years to come.”
Brian Hawkins is a pastor who has two children. His son has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and cannot learn in an online format. He said his daughter is depressed about not being in school.
“I’ve watched my children feel disengaged with the online learning,” Hawkins told Breitbart News. “I’m concerned with its lasting effects on our children learning. It bothers me to think my children will be socially and emotionally challenged because of the shutdown.”
“I believe education for our children is as critical as the work of doctors and nurses,” Hawkins said. “It’s time we think hard about the future of our nation when it comes to the education of our children.”
The Center for American Liberty, in coordination with the Dhillon Law Group and Eimer Stahl LLP, announced that more plaintiffs have been added to the #OpenCASchools lawsuit and more testimony from world-renowned experts on how to safely reopen schools has been entered into the lawsuit.
The amended complaint asked for a preliminary injunction against Newsom and other California government officials.
“Governor Newsom announced his plan to close public and private schools in 37 counties on July 17, impacting roughly 80 percent of California’s children,” a press release about the lawsuit said. “Since then, he has routinely said during his daily press conferences that his policies were driven by science, not politics, but his decisions continue to demonstrate that he has no regard for data, science, or expert opinion – much less consideration for the devastating harms this policy has had and will continue to have on our most vulnerable California children.”
“Younger, healthier people have virtually zero risk of death from [coronavirus]. … No child under age 18 in the state of California has died due to infection from the coronavirus since tracking began on February 1, 2020 … unlike the seasonal flu, which kills approximately 200 children per year nationally,” said Dr. Scott Atlas, who serves as the Robert Wesson senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University and former professor and chief of Neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center.
“Underscoring this low risk, renowned infections disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci … has ‘suggest[ed] that it would be appropriate to re-open schools,’” Dr. James Lyons-Weiler said of the lawsuit.
Lyons-Weiler serves as the CEO and director of The Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge and formerly served as the senior research scientist at the University of Pittsburgh, where he directed the university’s Bioinformatics Analysis Core.
“The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and countless scientific studies from around the world not only support, but advocate for in-person education for students during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Harmeet K. Dhillon, CEO of the Center for American Liberty, said. “The governor should rely heavily on science, but as our motion for preliminary injunction shows through expert testimony provided by Dr. Scott Atlas, Dr. Jayanta Bhattacharya, and numerous other leading experts in the field, the science does not support closing schools.”
Some of the other parents who joined the lawsuit expressed deep concerns about their children’s well being, including Erica Sephton, of Murrieta, California, who said she doesn’t understand why her kindergarten-aged daughter can spend all day in a childcare facility but not in school.
John Ziegler of Camarillo, California, said his daughter’s education has suffered so much since schools were closed that his wife quit her job.
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