Missourinet requested and received a statement from Columbia Public Schools Tuesday, after Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced that he sued the district over its mask mandate.

In Columbia Public Schools, providing a safe learning environment for all our scholars and staff is our top priority.

Because of the district’s safety efforts, our scholars, staff, and families enjoyed an excellent first day of school today. First day numbers indicate the school district’s enrollment increased by 525 scholars over last year with a total first-day enrollment of 18,738. Scholars arrived to our campuses excited to return to in-person learning and ready for a great year ahead.

Columbia Public Schools is extremely disappointed to learn that the Missouri Attorney General has chosen to pursue litigation against the school district for providing safety measures for its scholars, teachers, and staff members.  Numerous school districts across Missouri and across our country made the same safety decision based on what is needed in their communities during this period of time.  The decisions made are based on guidance and recommendations from local, state and national health experts, including the CDC.

The decision to require masks is not a forever decision. It is something currently necessary to keep our scholars safely learning in our schools.  The health and safety of Missouri citizens, especially its youngest citizens, should always be the first priority of our great state’s elected leadership.  The decision to file suit against a public school district after a local decision is made in the interest of safety and keeping students in school will waste taxpayer dollars and resources, which are better spent investing in our students. Columbia Public Schools intends to aggressively defend its decision to keep its community and its scholars safe.

Michelle Baumstark
Chief Communications Officer
Columbia Public Schools