Missoula lawyer challenges MCPS mask policy over response
Missoula’s lawyer Quentin Rhoades appeared on KGVO’s Talk Back Thursday to address the issue of masks for elementary school children and his efforts to expose what he called a lack of science in politics .
âWe are challenging the rule that they should wear masks,â Rhoades said. “We’re not talking about whether teachers should wear masks or whether staff or visitors or parents, and we’re not talking about forcing people not to mask themselves, or banning masks, we say, just make it optional. Because it is very difficult for children to have to wear masks seven hours a day in a learning environment. There is harm to their ability to learn, there is harm to their ability to socialize, and there is harm to their health.
Rhoades said there is no doubt that masks inhibit the learning ability of young children.
âThere is no controversy that it interferes with their ability to learn,â he said. âThere’s no one coming out and saying, well, the masks are okay, they’re not doing anything wrong. If you look at a professional organization or a study, there is no one looking at it, it says that it does not interfere with the children in their ability to learn. Everyone says yes. Some say it’s worth it. No one is saying it doesn’t hurt them, so it’s not in controversy.
Rhoades said the school district violates the Montana Constitution with its mandatory policy.
âNot only are school districts ignoring the emergency health and social services rule, they are ignoring the Montana Constitution,â he said. âAnd they know full well what the Montana Constitution says about education. They are educational professionals, so they are deliberately and knowingly flouting the law, it is a dereliction of duty, and it is a violation of their trust in the office in my opinion.
Rhoades says the superintendent’s office did not seek advice from the school board before responding to the new rule from the DPHHS and the governor.
“One of the things that is very upsetting to parents about the school’s response to the rule is that superintendents have responded to the DPHHS rule, school boards haven’t,” he said. “So the superintendents came back to us and said, ‘You know what, go fly a kite. These rules do not apply to us â. They didn’t present him to the school board and said, âWell, what do you think? They kept it in their pocket in their own office, and they didn’t ask the school board to intervene and it’s a usurpation of the power and authority of the school board.
Listen to the full interview with Rhoades by clicking here.