Ninth Circuit rules against Calif. Gov. Newsom order barring private school in-person teaching

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The California Ninth Circuit court on Friday ruled against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus mandates that barred private school children from receiving in-person teaching. 

In a suit brought forward in July 2020 by the Dhillon Law Group, 20 plaintiffs challenged an order by Newsom that barred in-person teaching in 32 counties – a mandate that affected 80 percent of California’s children.

Five of the plaintiffs argued that Newsom overstepped his authority in denying private school parents control over their children’s education. 

“California’s forced closure of their private schools implicates a right that has long been considered fundamental under the applicable caselaw—the right of parents to control their children’s education and to choose their children’s educational forum,” Judge Daniel Collins said Friday. 

The appellate court remanded the case for further proceedings and said it was not “moot.”

The court did rule against 14 parents and one student who challenged a previous district court ruling and said the parental rights regarding education in private schools did not hold for public school parents.

“We hold that the district court properly rejected the substantive due process claims of those Plaintiffs who challenge California’s decision to temporarily provide public education in an almost exclusively online format,” Collins said.

The Ninth Circuit judge argued that both the Supreme Court and the California court have yet to “recognize a federal constitutional right” to have the state “affirmatively” provide education in a specific format, meaning public education could still be taught in-person or online. 

Harmeet Dhillion, founder of the Dhillon Law Group, said it would continue to challenge Newsom’s order as it pertains to public schools.

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