SOUTHAMPTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) — A group of New Jersey parents is again taking Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration to court over its mask mandate in schools.
Parents of children who go to Southampton Elementary School have mixed reactions over the mask mandate in schools, but one anti-mask group, Free New Jersey Kids, says it’s vowing to keep fighting the Murphy administration.READ MORE: WATCH LIVE: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Officials Join With Area Hospital Leadership To Discuss COVID Surge
“We are arguing this is a violation of First Amendment rights” Bruce Afran, an attorney for Free New Jersey Kids, said.
The group Free New Jersey Kids represents about 20 parents and students from around the Garden State and is now appealing a ruling last week from a federal judge, trying to stop forcing masks in schools.
“It impedes speech, it interferes with associations with people, with the normal friendships children develop,” Afran said.
The appeal comes as health officials say schools are again seeing COVID-19 spread.
“It’s not surprising that we’re seeing increases in case rates in schools because we’re seeing increases in just general in our cases,” Dr. Christina Tan, with the New Jersey Health Department, said.READ MORE: WATCH LIVE: Philadelphia Health Department To Provide A COVID-19 Update
Murphy adds removing the mask mandate in schools would be “irresponsible.”
“Almost certainly, more people would get sick, and my guess is schools would have to shut down,” Murphy said.
Murphy says he eventually wants to lift his mask mandate in schools.
“Sooner than later, but we got to do it responsibly,” Murphy said.
Parent Capri Harris, who has a child in Southampton Elementary School, put it this way when it comes to students having to wear face coverings.
“I think they should have a mask on without a pandemic. They should. Kids are little hosts,” Harris said. “They can come up to you, smile and look cute and have a whole situation going on, and then your nose is running, and you can’t combat it.”MORE NEWS: Dump Truck, 3 Other Vehicles Involved In Chester County Crash On Route 30
State health officials say even with masks, there have been more than 240 outbreaks in schools