AG files lawsuit against Columbia over school mask mandate

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 1:43 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2021 at 6:36 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is suing the City of Columbia over its school mask mandate, saying the ordinance violates state law.

On Thursday, Wilson filed a lawsuit with the South Carolina Supreme Court. The Attorney General’s office says the lawsuit “would also apply to all cities, towns, counties, and school boards that have passed or are seeking to pass mask mandates similar to Columbia’s.”

The lawsuit points to the Court’s recent ruling in the Creswick v. University of South Carolina and Wilson case.

Wilson previously told Mayor Steve Benjamin he had until August 13 to rescind the mask ordinance.


You can read the entire lawsuit here.

Mayor Benjamin released a statement in response to the lawsuit saying:

“As we have stated, the City of Columbia and our ordinance requiring facemasks in schools are not in violation of any state law. In fact, we are in compliance with South Carolina Constitutional law, which makes it our legal and ethical obligation to protect the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens. Our city is authorized and empowered, and has the duty to afford adequate protection for lives, safety, health and welfare by Article VIII, Section 17 of the South Carolina Constitution and the Home Rule Act of 1975.”

Parents and teachers across our City, across Richland County, in fact across the state, have been vocal in asking us to make sure that children are safe in schools. As SC DHEC has just reported more than 3,200 new COVID cases in one day, we think it is counter to the best interests of community health to have any discussion other than what proven measures we can use to protect our children.”

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