appy New Year, everyone. Our fight to free students from forced masks is still not over, which is sad in some ways, and good news in another way.
Refresher on what's going on:
Thanks to your support, we have two concurrent lawsuits that were filed in 2021:
LAWSUIT #1 filed in federal court in saying the mask mandate, specifically EO 251, is unconstitutional, and that forced masks in school in general (regardless of EO) is unconstitutional.
UPDATE: This was dismissed by Judge McNulty as being moot and we appealed it through the US Court of Appeals. We originally thought they would grant an oral argument, but they did not, stating that the briefs were thorough enough to make a decision one way or another. We are still waiting on that appeal decision -- HOWEVER, Bruce just received word THIS WEEK that the US Court Appeals wants both the State of NJ and Bruce to submit supplemental briefs by JANUARY 27TH on the question of whether the appeal is moot due to the EO 251 being retracted. Since 3 new districts have started forced masks again (Camden, Passaic, and Patterson), AND since Biden reasserted the state of emergency federally, Bruce strongly believes the US Court of Appeals will find the matter is NOT MOOT. Our legal brief addressed masking issues outside of EO 251 for this very reason. Our federal suit appeal is heating up! They are still paying attention.
LAWSUIT #2 filed in State Appellate Court arguing that the Governor has no legal authority to write the Executive Orders in the first place. We want to make sure that this never happens again.
UPDATE: This was dismissed as being "moot" because Gov. Murphy's Executive Orders expired. Remember early last year, the NJ legislature would not allow him to continue, and he declared another state of emergency above and beyond them, outside of their support. That went from about Feb 1 to March 7, at which point he gave control over to the Dept. of Health. That agency still recommends masks, thereby giving schools the illusion of power to force masks on kids to this day. HOWEVER, Bruce included that argument (agencies and schools) in his brief, just in case the court declared the argument about the Executive Orders moot. We appealed this decision from the US Court Appeals to the NJ Supreme Court. The appeal was filed last week, and is linked here: https://drive.google.com/.../19juLQWw9hAO.../view...
As always, you can find both briefs along with the timeline since we filed 2 years ago at WWW.FREENJKIDS.COM
If you follow this page, I know you're like me -- even if our kids' schools don't require masks anymore, we haven't forgotten about the kids in the districts still forced to wear masks every school day, all day, 3 years now. I can't even imagine the speech and reading issues for the little ones. We are still in this fight, as slow-going as it may be. Our time will come!
Update: Bruce and team are still working on all fronts as the slow appeal process makes it way to our turn.
Refresher: our case was deemed moot once Gov M. EO'd expired and he turned power over to Dept. Of Health (which schools do NOT have to follow). But some schools are still following it. Now we are appealing that "moot" decision.
Passaic just implemented forced masks on kids after what appears to be a large staff party where someone later tested COV positive.
"Good morning, everyone. We were finalizing the brief to go to the NJ Supreme Court on our request that they review the appellate division decision on mootness when we learned from Patty Hoch of the Passaic decision to re-impose masking (I am copying Patty). Steven Sacks-Wilner also saw the material and sent it to me.
This will certainly help us in demonstrating that the matter was not moot but capable of repetition. I am hoping to send the brief in by tomorrow. If anyone hears other information about other districts please forward it immediately. I will also be supplementing the record in the US Court of Appeals with this information (our case is pending before the Court that has not yet issued its decision).
-- Bruce Afran"
Please email if you know of any schools forcibly masking -- I will try to respond once a week as sometimes daily replies get tough with my businesses and daily life. But I'm still here, and this still matters!!
I heard from a nearby district administrator that kids in younger grades are SOOOO far behind from 2 years of masking-- in everything - speech, reading, writing, socializing-- and some schools on year 3 and 4, it is way beyond a travesty now.
We know if Bruce could make it move faster, he would. He's still at it!
Will update again soon. Things are getting ready for the new year.
****With school back in session and a 3rd year of masks in some districts, there are no words to describe the State’s response that our case is moot. Our case addresses masks being forced in schools OUTSIDE of an Executive Order (which is what they were trying to say is moot).
I emphasize that even when it seems quiet on this front, Bruce and his team are still furiously working in the background. We haven’t stopped fighting, and we won’t. Right now we are deep in the slow wheels of court dates and appeals.
Speaking of which…
Update from Bruce, we were waiting on an oral argument in Appeals.
“Unfortunately, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit decided not to grant oral argument. That often happens in that circuit -- it should not be taken to mean anything one way or the other. We will send them a final note on the mootness issue. I am working on it now.”
I will upload his response to this denial as soon as he sends it!
Step by step, we will get there!
August 2022: Thank you for your comments and help! We are looking for a Rutgers student who does not want to be forced to wear a mask and is willing to put their name on our lawsuit which continues to be amended as forced masks continue into 3 years!
Email Freenjkids@gmail.com or comment below.
Thank you, fellow supporters! We are in a marathon, not a sprint.