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Phoenix Union teacher suing school district over mask mandate

Superintendent Chad Gestson and the district board opted for the mandate in defiance of Gov. Doug Ducey.

PHOENIX — A teacher with the Phoenix Union High School District filed a lawsuit on Monday against the district’s superintendent and governing board over their decision to mandate masks for students and faculty.

The teacher, who is being represented by the Kolodin Law Group, filed the lawsuit on Monday, which marked the new school year for one of Arizona’s largest school districts.

The lawsuit demands Phoenix Union leaders “prescribe and enforce policies and procedures for the governance of schools that are not inconsistent with the law.”

Superintendent Chad Gestson and the district board opted for the mandate in defiance of Gov. Doug Ducey.

RELATED: Phoenix Union High School District issues mask mandate. Does it violate a new state law?

Ducey ordered in June that schools cannot make face coverings a mandatory requirement. While consistently encouraging people to mask up throughout the pandemic, Ducey called new CDC recommendations on masks “discrimination.”

Masks are widely accepted as an effective way to limit the spread of COVID-19 which is primarily spread through coughs and sneezes.

Phoenix Union was the first district in the state to require masks and has been joined by the Phoenix Elementary School District.

RELATED: Phoenix Elementary School District to require masks across campuses

Laws take effect 90 days after a legislative session ends. For Ducey’s ban, that date is Sept. 29.

The mandate ban, however, was made retroactive to June 30. That has created some confusion about when the law took effect.

Attorneys with experience in legislative matters confirmed that despite the "retroactive date," the law takes effect in September.

That creates a window for Phoenix Union and other districts to require masks on campus.

When questioned about the legality of the mandate, Gestson deflected to answer and said, "If a legal battle ensues, we'll be fully prepared to handle that."

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