Letter: Gardner Edgerton USD 231's COVID-19 policy 'discriminatory,' 'likely illegal'

Posted at 6:26 PM, Sep 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 19:26:22-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — COVID-19 protocols in the Gardner Edgerton USD 231 School District are “discriminatory” and “likely illegal,” according to a cease and desist letter the district received on Wednesday.

Ryan Kriegshauser, who represents some students and parents in the district, said in the letter to district leaders that because USD 231 receives state appropriations, it is “subject to the ban on refusing student access to certain public education facilities” or separating students based on their vaccination status.

“Our clients are aware of instances in the district during the current school year where students have been subjected to discriminatory treatment based on their vaccination status,” Kriegshauser said in the letter. “This policy is likely illegal under 2021 S.B. 159 and must immediately and publicly be rescinded.”

Kriegshauser also alleged that the district’s protocols are discriminatory against students who are medically exempt from wearing a mask because USD 231’s policy states, “lack of a mask, combined with the consideration of a student’s vaccination status, will subject a student to potential quarantine.”

The clients, according to the letter, “demand” equal education access, regardless of students’ ability to wear a mask based on medical conditions “as determined by their medical professional.”

The letter also alleged that there have been instances where “school officials have engaged in inconsistent, subjective and targeted enforcement against perceived mask propriety standards.”

Kriegshauser’s clients also want to hold the district to “strict compliance” standards that require county health officials, not school district officials, to issue quarantine orders.

A response is requested from the district by 5 p.m. Friday.