Parents Win Over Unconstitutional Quarantine Policy

EDMOND, OK – An Oklahoma County judge granted a temporary injunction to stop Edmond Public School District’s unconstitutional discriminatory treatment of children who have not received the COVID shot. 

In Brian Shellem, et. al. v. Angela Grunewald, et al., several parents filed a lawsuit against the superintendent of Edmond Public Schools and several board members because the school district implemented a policy that required unvaccinated students to quarantine at home while those who had the shot could stay in school. 

The court determined that the school district’s quarantine protocols frustrated the students’ ability to learn and inflicted negative psychological and physical effects on them, especially those children with special needs. The judge stated that “children and adolescents experience high rates of depression and anxiety during and after being quarantined. The policy of sending healthy students into quarantine has shown little effectiveness over time and that quarantining apparently healthy students leads to higher rates of depression and anxiety among those students.”

Beginning August 18, 2021, the school district instituted its COVID-19 quarantine protocols that required unvaccinated students who were identified as “close contacts” of individuals positive for COVID-19, and who had not tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 90 days, to quarantine at home for seven to ten days. Even if an unvaccinated student did not display signs or symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19, the district’s policy required the student to self-isolate at home. 

One Edmond parent testified, “We had an email sent to us as parents with a group of people divided into two categories. The two categories were this is how you were going to get treated if you were vaccinated and this is how you’re going to get treated if you’re not vaccinated. And when I saw that I knew it was wrong.” 

None of the plaintiffs’ children who were quarantined pursuant to the district’s policy displayed symptoms associated with COVID-19 nor did they test positive while isolated at home. However, as a result of the quarantine, the plaintiffs’ children experienced a wide range of negative psychological and physical effects. For example, one autistic child who suffers from severe behavioral problems became extremely violent during her 10-day quarantine, and no school official provided assistance regarding her behavioral issues. Another student, who is disabled and has special needs, was quarantined two times. While quarantined, the student received only 160 minutes of instruction compared to 1,200 minutes of the typical in-person instruction. One child’s math grades dropped significantly while isolated in quarantine and the parent was forced to teach school subjects to her child using YouTube videos.  One parent testified that the district’s quarantine grossly exacerbated her child’s underlying anxiety which has led to suicidal tendencies. Another child experienced psychosomatic effects of isolation and lost weight and the ability to absorb nutrients. 

The court also wrote, “Absent a temporary injunction, the Edmond Public School District’s COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated students will continue to do irreparable harm to Plaintiffs’ children. Implementing or enforcing its COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated students because Plaintiffs have established the protocols likely violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Edmond Public School District’s discriminatory treatment of children who have not received the COVID shots is unconstitutional and cruel. School officials should be focused on the best needs for their students and not using them as guinea pigs in a political experiment.” 

SOURCE Liberty Counsel