August 3, 2023 Update
Discovery continues on this critical school mask case, which is set for trial in May 2024. As many long-standing Legal Warriors Club members recall, on April 7, 2022, on behalf of Chris Palicke (as guardian ad litem to his son Aidan) and Free Now Foundation (formerly Children’s Health Defense, California Chapter) our attorneys filed a lawsuit for declaratory and injunctive relief and damages against Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District and some of its agents and school employees for imposing a harsh and unlawful “no mesh mask” policy in the middle of the ongoing school year.
Students who refused to comply with this sudden mid-year change in policy were harassed, isolated, and ultimately forced out of school into independent study. One such student was Aidan Palicke, a high achieving respectful student and captain of the track team who simply wanted to be able to breathe while attending his junior year classes. Rather than protecting this basic right to breathe, PYLUSD teachers and agents instead mocked, harassed, and abused Aidan, pulling him out of his classes, forcing him to drag a desk outside in the morning cold to be isolated from other students as if he were “diseased,” and encouraging other students to turn against Aidan for his principled stance. Ultimately, PYLUSD expelled Aidan for not complying with this sudden “mesh mask” policy, in violation of clear California Education Code provisions that strictly limit when and how long a school may remove a student from in-person schooling for “defiance” or for having an actual infectious disease.
In defense of these outrageous actions, PYLUSD has claimed it was “just following orders” from public health authorities — and tried to get this lawsuit dismissed twice. Fortunately, the judge in this case overruled both motions, and ordered the case to move forward. On May 9, 2023, PYLUSD answered our lawsuit. FNF attorneys are now busily engaged in the fact-finding “discovery” stage, which includes interrogatories (strategic questions), taking depositions, and producing and/or reviewing loads of documents. This discovery process will likely shed further light on why PYLUSD agents and employees took such abusive and unlawful actions against their own students in the name of protecting “health.”
Aria Morgan is the Managing Editor of Free Now Foundation. Aria is a passionate and accomplished editor with a diverse background in writing for various industries, including music, film, health and yoga, and with published covers and feature credits in national magazines. Aria is dedicated to protecting civil rights and promoting health and medical freedom, and is thrilled to be a part of the Free Now Foundation team.