Missoula Attorney Quentin Rhoades appeared on the KGVO Talk Back show on Thursday to address the issue of masks for elementary school children and his efforts to call out what he termed a lack of science in the policy.

“We're challenging the rule that they should have to wear masks,” said Rhoades. “We're not talking about whether the teachers have to wear masks or whether the staff or the visitors or parents, and we're not talking about forcing people not to mask, or prohibiting masks, we're saying, just make it optional. Because there's a lot of harm to kids in having to wear masks seven hours a day, in a learning environment. There's harm to their ability to learn, there's harm to their ability to socialize and there's harm to their health.”

Rhoades said there is no question that masks inhibit the ability of young children to learn.

“There's no controversy that it interferes with their ability to learn,” he said. “There's nobody that comes out and says, well, masks are fine, they don't hurt anything. If you look at any professional organization or study there's nobody who looks at this it says it doesn't hurt kids in their ability to learn. Everybody says it does. Some say it's worth it. No one says it doesn't hurt them, so that's not in controversy.”

Rhoades said the school district is violating the Montana Constitution with its mandatory policy.

“Not only are the school districts ignoring the Health and Human Services emergency rule, but they're ignoring the Montana Constitution,” he said. “And they know very well what it says about education in the Montana Constitution. They are education professionals, so they're flouting the law purposely and knowingly, it's dereliction of duty, and it's a violation of their trust in office in my opinion.”

Rhoades claims that the superintendent’s office did not seek counsel from the school board before responding to the new rule from the DPHHS and the governor.

“One of the things that is very upsetting to the parents about the school's response to the rule is that the superintendents responded to the rule from the DPHHS, not the school boards,” he said. “So the superintendents got back to us and said, ‘You know what, go fly a kite. These rules don't apply to us’. They didn't take it to the school board and say, ‘Well, what do you guys think?’ They kept it in their own pocket in their own office, and they didn't get the school board to come in and weigh in on it, and that's an usurpation of the school board's power and authority.”

Hear Rhoades’ entire interview by clicking here.

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