The Illinois attorney general, representing Gov. Pritzker and other state officials, has asked a downstate court to move a massive class-action lawsuit over the state’s school mask mandate and other COVID rules to a different county.
The case was filed by attorney Thomas DeVore on October 20 in Macoupin County against Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and Illinois State Board of Education.
It seeks declaratory judgment and injunctions against the dozens of schools, saying it’s unlawful to exclude students from school for being in close contact with a COVID-19 case without the consent of the parent or court order that includes due process.
The suit also claims it is unlawful to require masks as a type of treatment without parental consent or a quarantine order from the courts.
Well over 100 school districts in Illinois were sued in the lawsuit. 16 schools in Lake and McHenry counties were named in the suit.
The McHenry County school districts include Algonquin-based School District 300, Crystal Lake School District 47, Crystal Lake District 155, Cary School District 26, Huntley School District 158, McHenry School District 15 and Woodstock School District 200.
The Lake County school districts include Antioch School District 34, Lake Forest School District 67, Lake Forest School District 115, Vernon Hills-based District 128, Lake Villa-based District 117, Lincolnshire-Prairieview School District 103, Warren Township School District 121, Barrington School District 220 and Wauconda School District 118.
The Illinois Attorney General’s Office this week filed a motion to transfer and consolidate a number of lawsuits, including DeVore’s lawsuit filed on October 20.
Attorneys with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office said in the motion they were asking the court to move the lawsuits to either Cook County or Sangamon County under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 384.
Rule 384 says that “[w]hen civil actions involving one or more common questions of fact or law are pending in different judicial circuits,” and the court “determines that consolidation would serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and would promote the just and efficient conduct of such actions,” then it may “transfer all such actions to one judicial circuit for consolidated pretrial, trial, or post-trial proceedings.”
Shannon Adcock, the founder of parents’ rights group Awake Illinois, is one of the many plaintiffs in the Macoupin County case. Her children attend Aurora-based Indian Prairie School District 204.
“As a mother of 3 healthy children who have been forcibly masked and quarantined from school, my advocacy has always been in support of parental rights and the protections under the law,” Adcock said in a statement.
“Parents have advocated with grace and integrity at every level and have been met with total silence. After over a year and a half of government overreach, we are prepared to take the litigious route in an effort to provide the offramp from nefarious policy-making by our governor, state agencies, and the school districts who are failing the constituency,” she said.
“I am grateful to each plaintiff for having the courage of conviction to advocate for Illinois children,” Adcock added.
DeVore has secured temporary restraining orders against schools over such issues in smaller cases involving groups of children or entire school districts.
The Center Square and Lake and McHenry County Scanner both contributed to this story.