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Arkansas banned mask mandates, now these parents are looking to sue

A group of Arkansas parents are planning on suing the state over Act 1002, the recently passed law that bans mask mandates statewide.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — As we get closer to the school year, some parents are concerned about the safety of their students at school.

"It's more than just about my child, it's about all the children of this state," Veronica McClane, a parent with two kids, said. "My children are the most important thing to me."

Protecting her kids is one of the most important things to her as well. Seeing cases rise while vaccinations and masking fall has left McClane feeling more upset than content.

"It's concern, it's frustration," McClane said. "It's sadness."

So she got involved. McClane is part of a group of parents planning on suing the state over Act 1002 – that's the recently passed law that bans mask mandates statewide.

The parents' lawyer, Tom Mars, was not available for comment Wednesday but did release a statement on Twitter.

It says, in part, "the lawsuit I am preparing will be filed on behalf of all K-12 parents in Arkansas whose children attend a public school."

The statement goes on to read, "declaring that Act 1002 violates the Arkansas Constitution and is therefore null and void."

Senator Trent Garner introduced the bill that became Act 1002, and says while the law prohibits mask mandates forcing people to wear a mask, those who want to can.

"If you wanna send your child there with two masks on, if you want your child to get vaccinated, if you want to do remote learning if none of them other options work cause they're immunocompromised, all that is on the table for the parent," Senator Garner said.

He says while he understands the concern, this is about personal choices – not requirements.

"It comes from each individual parent looking at the data, looking at the studies, determining what is best for them and their families," Senator Garner said. 

"I think the people of Arkansas are smart enough to make that decision to do what's right when it comes to it."

While McClane said this isn't an easy challenge to make, she said this is something she and the other parents are ready to fight for.

"I'm kinda past scared," she said. "Now I'm motivated to the point where I will do everything within my power to protect my children and to protect the other children of this state."

That lawsuit has not officially been filed as of Wednesday afternoon, but should be filed soon, McClane said.