Parents sue Wisconsin school district over lack of COVID-19 precautions after child gets sick

Poster image - 2021-10-07T172820.520.jpg
Posted at 9:53 AM, Oct 12, 2021

WAUKESHA — WAUKESHA, Wisc. — A parent has filed a lawsuit against the Waukesha School District and its school board, claiming her child got sick with COVID-19 after being exposed by a classmate because the school district does not have a mask requirement in place.

The child is a student a Rose Glen Elementary School. The lawsuit alleges the district violated the boy's 14th Amendment right to be protected from state-created dangers at school.

"We received a COVID-19 complaint for filing yesterday. We have not been formally served. Immediately we contacted our attorneys and on the advice of our counsel we have been advised not to respond further at this time," Waukesha School District Superintendent James Sebert said last Thursday.

The lawsuit said a mask policy was in place at Waukesha schools last year, but it ended on May 12. The district did not put a new mask policy in place for the 2021-2022 school year.

Poster image - 2021-10-07T172804.685.jpg
Rose Glen Elementary School

In a declaration included in the lawsuit, the mother said that as a family, they decided to send their kids to school wearing masks despite the district not requiring them. She said other students did not wear masks at school.

The lawsuit claims that a classmate of the child came to school with COVID-19 symptoms on Sept. 16 and 17 before being sent home. The child allegedly sat next to that classmate each day. The mother said in the declaration that her child became symptomatic and tested positive on Sept. 19. She said her other kids, also enrolled in the school district, became sick with COVID-19 a few days later.

The lawsuit claims all of the children missed several days of school and extracurricular activities because they were sick.

The Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC is funding the lawsuit.

"Ultimately, we don't want a lawsuit that lasts a year," Super PAC founder Kirk Bangstad said. "We want an injunction where a judge says, 'Until we suss out what the defense has to say and what the plaintiffs have to say, we're gonna put masks on kids too young to get vaccinated.'"

Poster image - 2021-10-07T172751.894.jpg
Kirk Bangstad

Bangstand is also the owner of the Mincoqua Brewing Company in Northern Wisconsin. Last year, he and his restaurant got national attention for hanging a giant Biden-Harris sign on their building and releasing a "progressive" beer line.

Through the class action lawsuit, he hopes that all Wisconsin schools will be forced to have mask requirements in place.

"We're trying to define a class of school boards that involve all school boards that aren't following the COVID precautions," he said.

The lawsuit was filed in Wisconsin's eastern district. Bangstand is hoping to bring another lawsuit to the western district.

This story was originally published by Sarah McGrew on Scripps station TMJ4 in Milwaukee.