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Teacher Sues Phoenix School District over Mask Mandates


Less than a week after Phoenix Union High School District (PXU) issued a mask mandate in defiance of state law, a high school biology teacher has sued the school district.

“Douglas Hester, who teaches Biology 1 and 2 at Metro Tech High School, filed a motion for a restraining order on Monday against its superintendent and its governing board, according to the Maricopa County Superior Court,” Fox News reported.

Hester’s attorney made a short statement.

Star News Education Foundation Journalism Project“No school district is above the law,” Alexander Kolodin, reportedly said. “We are pleased to take action on behalf of this brave teacher to ensure government bodies follow state law.”

As late as July 27, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) made a public reminder that the state had outlawed mask mandates.

“Arizona does not allow mask mandates, vaccine mandates, vaccine passports or discrimination in schools based on who is or isn’t vaccinated,” Ducey said on Twitter. “We’ve passed all of this into law, and it will not change.”

But that did not stop PXU from issuing its mask decree three days later, on July 30.

“In an effort to protect our staff, students, and community, PXU has a good faith belief that the following guidance from the CDC and other health agencies regarding mitigation strategies is imperative,” the school district said in a statement. “Therefore, Phoenix Union will begin the school year on August 2 enforcing our existing Board-adopted mask requirement of universal indoor masking only, regardless of vaccination status.”

The same day the lawsuit was filed, Phoenix Elementary also issued a mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status.

“We know that our children learn best in person and we will implement mitigation strategies that help to minimize the spread of illnesses, reduce the need for quarantining, and avoid classroom and school closures,” that school said.

Attorneys for both sides will make their cases at a hearing scheduled for next Wednesday.

It will be the first courtroom test of the new law.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to
Photo “Douglas Hester” by Douglas Hester. Background Photo “Phoenix Union High School” by Marine 69-71. CC BY-SA 3.0.