Lawsuit takes aim at schools that have dropped COVID-19 prevention policies

By: - October 8, 2021 5:39 am
students at desks in classroom wearing masks for COVID-19 coronavirus prevention teacher also wearing mask bending over to help student

School children wearing masks (Stock photo | Getty Images)

The first of what a Minocqua brewer and political fundraiser says could be a pair of lawsuits against school districts for relaxing COVID-19 prevention measures has been filed in Waukesha County.

Wisconsin Public Radio reported the class-action lawsuit was filed Wednesday against the Waukesha School District in federal court in Milwaukee. The suit blames the Waukesha School Board’s vote in May to drop COVID-19 mitigation policies, including requiring people to wear masks in the school, for the infections of some children who attended school while masked. It claims that unmasked children have attended school with symptoms of the illness.

The lawsuit is being financed by Kirk Bangstad, who owns Minocqua Brewery and also maintains a super PAC. Bangstad told WPR that another class-action suit is contemplated for Wisconsin’s other federal court district, centered in Madison. He said he has raised more than $50,000 so far to pay for lawyers and medical experts for the litigation.

In the Waukesha lawsuit, Shannon Jensen is the lead plaintiff, representing a proposed class of other parents of children alleging they were sickened after attending school while masked and exposed to unmasked children with COVID-19 symptoms.

WPR reported that in a Facebook post, Bangstad expressed hope that the lawsuit would result in a temporary injunction requiring school mitigation measures until the federal Food and Drug Administration approves a vaccine for children under 11.

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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Senior Reporter Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, along with related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.