A parent of children who attend school in the Lake Mills Area School District filed a demand letter Tuesday, calling for a mask optional policy in the district.
Nick Roedl has retained the firm of Levine Eisberner LLC, which sent the demand letter to Superintendent Tonya Olson and the five members of the school board. A demand letter can often be, but not always, a precursor to formal legal action.
The letter, dated Oct. 8, indicated the firm had advised Roedl that he has claims to challenge the mask policy based on the deprivation of parents’ fundamental rights under the Constitution and religious discrimination.
In the text of the demand letter, attorney Nikki Yang, who is employed with Levine Eisberner LLC , wrote: “Mr. Roedl and many other parents from the District do not want their children to be masked for health and or religious reasons. LMASD’s mask mandate is in contrary to Mr. Roedl’s and many parents’ health care decision for their children and it interferes with their religious practice. In conclusion, we believe that LMASD’s mask mandate interferes with parents’ fundamental rights to direct the upbringing of their children.”
According to the letter, the law firm asserts that Roedl, as a parent, should be able to make health-care decisions for his children – specifically whether his children should wear a mask.
Yang claims Roedl’s children have been denied a religious exemption for wearing a mask. She wrote that even if LMASD offers a virtual learning option, “it is still discriminatory and problematic” as it sets students whose religious beliefs contradict face coverings requirements apart from other students akin to segregation; virtual learning cannot offer the same experience and activities as in-person learning; and virtual learning is not attainable for families like Roedl’s due to lack of internet connection around their living area.
“Moreover, for working parents who do not have flexible hours or the option to work from home, they simply cannot support their children in virtual learning,” Yang wrote.
The letter states Roedl is willing to enter good faith negotiations to resolve this dispute without costly and time-consuming litigation.
“With that being said, failure to resolve this dispute out of court will leave him with no other option but to pursue relief in litigation. If forced into litigation, Mr. Roedl will rescind his offer and seek maximum damages permitted by law, including applicable attorney’s fees.”
The administrator and school board has been asked to respond to the demand letter by Oct. 22.
Olson declined to comment on the letter.