A group of 25 New Jersey families has banded together in Superior Court to block Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order that mandates all children wear masks when they return to school next month.

Rosemary Beechi, the president and founder of the group Jersey 1st, said the appeal has been filed because “what people are really opposed to is the fact this is a mandate, and they’re not being given any kind of choice in the matter.”

She said this is not a one-size-fits-all situation.

“There are so many different circumstances and there’s a lot of instances where people don’t want their children in a mask,” said Beechi, a Republican who unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J. 11th District, last year.

She said the appeal is challenging the Executive Order on the grounds that:

• The Executive Order is unconstitutional in that it violates the separation of power clause of the New Jersey Constitution.
• The Governor lacks authority to issue the Executive Order under the Disaster Control Act.
• The Executive Order is unconstitutional in that violates the Parents' and Children's Substantial Due Process rights under the U.S. and New Jersey constitutions.
• The Executive Order is unconstitutional in that violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. and New Jersey constitutions.
• The Executive Order is unconstitutional in that violates the Parents' and Children' First Amendment rights under the U.S. and New Jersey constitutions.

“The science is all over the place in terms of what works with masking and what doesn’t," she said.

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She said another question many people have is why is a mask mandate ordered for schools, but not supermarkets, retail stores and other locations.

“We’ve got lots of events, large gatherings throughout the state where none of this is being applied,” she said.

She said many people are vaccinated, others that are not are wearing masks and there’s no reason to force this kind of a mandate across the board.

“I think it’s taking away a parental right and an opportunity for parents and people to make decisions on their own,” she said. “This does a blanket assumption that people won’t do the right thing or they don’t know how to look out for themselves. They do.”

She said her group has not even attempted to speak with the governor or representatives of the state Health Department about this issue because “my sense is there is not a whole lot of flexibility here, that this is something that they’re making these unilateral decisions on.”

She added people want common sense applied here and forcing a mask mandate on everybody is not the way to do that.

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