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UPDATE x1: Pritzker mandates masks for public, non-public schools; Bailey demands basis for policy




UPDATE x1: State Rep. Chris Miller responds, saying Pritzker is a "dictator"… see below

SPRINGFIELD – Parents unhappy with mask mandates at the local government schools report finding a viable option in area private and religious schools last year that worked well for their children. That option will not be available, according to a new executive order issued by Governor Pritzker that will remove a non-public school's recognition by the state if the school refuses to mandate masks for their students, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.

Numerous surrounding states have no similar requirements for public or private schools, and Illinois parents have been voicing outrage over mask policies to their local school boards.

Executive Order 2021-18, issued by Governor Pritzker on August 4th states: 

Screen Shot 2021-08-13 at 2.18.01 PM

Illinois Superintendent of Education, Dr. Carmen I. Ayala wrote to Timothy Christian Schools, who reportedly was considering an optional mask policy, that the State would use the teeth provided in law to enforce the mandate.

“Pursuant to ISBE’s authority under 23 Illinois Administrative Code 425.60, ISBE is removing your school’s status as a recognized nonpublic school, effective immediately. As a result of being non-recognized, your school is now subject to at least the following consequences:

  1. Seniors who graduate from a non-recognized school will receive a diploma that is not recognized by ISBE. This action is irreversible should the school later regain its recognition status, and these students will forever have a degree from a non-recognized school.

  2. Your school, families, and students will be unable to participate in the Invest in Kids Act tax scholarship program subject to the regulations set by the Illinois Department of Revenue.

  3. Your school will become ineligible to participate in Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) sanctioned sports subject to the regulations set by IHSA/IESA.”

Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Sen. Darren Bailey responded to Pritzker's order with a question, "Why do you think you have the authority to do this?"

From the SenDarrenBailey.com website:

Following the State Superintendent of Education’s sudden move to strip a private school’s state-recognition because the school hadn’t agreed to enforce the Pritzker administration’s most recent school mask mandate, State Senator Darren Bailey (R-Louisville) is calling on the Governor to explain why he believes his administration has that authority to levy that punishment.

Bailey specifically pointed to House Bill 2789. The legislation would have started a process for the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to adopt the process and rules for schools that do not comply with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) mandates created when the Governor has declared a disaster due to a public health emergency. The legislation was not passed by the Senate and thus did not become law. Bailey noted that the associations representing school administrators, along with groups representing private schools, all opposed the bill.

He pointed out that the governor wanted legislation to allow that authority. It did not pass to the governor's desk yet. 

“I do not believe that state statute grants this authority to ISBE or IDPH, and I think the legislation they were trying to push through is evidence of that,” said Sen. Darren Bailey. “It’s also very frightening to me that the administration would lash out so quickly against a school and its students without any real due process. This is just another example of the Governor’s completely unilateral approach, ignoring the voices and input of school boards, parents, and even the state legislature.”

Bailey sent a letter to Governor Pritzker outlining his concerns and requesting that the Governor, in light of the failure of HB2789, explain how ISBE has the authority to strip recognition from a private school over failure to comply with a mask mandate.

UPDATE X1 from State Rep. Chris Miller (R-Oakland) :

These 18 months of tyranny need to come to an end. [Democrat House Leader] Chris Welch: call the legislature back in session so we can do our jobs and represent the people who elected us.  The people of Illinois do not want a dictator.  IDPH does not have the power to make health decisions for private schools – in case you forgot, Governor Pritzker, HB2789 failed after thousands of witness slips were filed in opposition.  Why do you continue to ignore the will of the people who elected you? To everyone who opposed HB2789: why are you silent now?  It is time to stand up to tyranny in all its forms.

Bailey's letter as follows:



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