A federal class action lawsuit was filed against Allen ISD last week for what the plaintiffs allege to be a violation of the district’s “duty to assure the right to life of … all students” amid its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A violation of students’ 14th Amendment rights as codified by its Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses is also alleged.
The civil complaint, filed in the Eastern District of Texas, names two Allen ISD students – both siblings identified as “John Doe I” and “Jane Doe I” – and their parents as the proposed class. John Doe I was identified in the complaint as a sixth grader at Bolin Elementary School while Jane Doe I was identified as a senior at Allen High School who suffers from “a number of medical disabilities which hamper her immune and respiratory systems.”
The complaint states that while Jane Doe I is vaccinated, she is diagnosed with trigeminal schwannoma, a neurological disorder wherein a tumor is formed around facial nerves.
The 39-page document was accompanied with an open letter from approximately 200 physicians at Cook Children’s Health Care System, who laid out a “10-point guide for safely reopening schools” in the body of text. While Allen ISD has implemented policies compatible with some of these points, such as reinforcing sanitization practices, it also urges districts to provide a virtual learning option, a measure Allen ISD has opposed taking in an expressed interest of improved educational outcomes.
Allen ISD has attracted ongoing controversy for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an Aug. 23 Board of Trustees meeting, over 150 protesters gathered outside Allen City Hall, with many demonstrators urging the district to enforce a mask mandate and offer a virtual learning option for students who request it. Other protesters made opposing demands, contending that such measures would violate students’ individual liberties.
When asked for comment, district spokesperson David Hicks issued a statement saying, “Due to the ongoing litigation, the school district cannot speak to the specifics regarding its response to the lawsuit at this time. The District, however, strongly disagrees that the students’ constitutional rights have been violated by leaving masks as an option for students and staff. Allen ISD continues to work proactively and professionally with parents who have questions or concerns about COVID-related issues. The vast majority of these concerns have been resolved without the need for litigation.”