Montana Supreme Court affirms previous district court rulings in school mask suit

The Montana Supreme Court rejected claims by Missoula and Gallatin county parents who objected to school mask policies, saying school districts had the authority to provide a safe environment.

The justices agreed with rulings made previously by district courts in Gallatin and Missoula counties to deny preliminary injunctions regarding school mask policies in those respective counties.

Local parents in Gallatin and Missoula counties filed their respective suits last year, but were ultimately denied. The two groups eventually joined forces and appealed the district courts’ decisions to the state Supreme Court.

The opinion of the Montana Supreme Court was delivered Tuesday afternoon by Justice Jim Rice. All justices on the court concurred with the opinion.

“The district courts did not manifestly abuse their discretion by denying the preliminary injunctions, and their orders are affirmed,” the court wrote in its opinion.

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Parents in Missoula County took issue with face-covering policies at Missoula County Public Schools, Target Range School District and the Hellgate Elementary School district. Gallatin County parents sued Bozeman School District, Monforton School District and Big Sky School District.

The parents were represented by Missoula attorney Quentin Rhoades of Rhoades & Erickson PLLC.

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