Citizens for Community Values’ School Network, Three Christian Schools Sue Lucas County Health Board for Unconstitutional Order
Lucas County Order directly violates First Amendment Religious Freedom Rights of Religious Schools
TOLEDO – Citizens for Community Values’ Ohio Christian Education Network and three Christian Schools have filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department for violating Christian schools’ First Amendment freedoms by ordering all schools, grades 7-12, to cease in-person instruction for six weeks.
The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of Ohio, asks the court for a Temporary Restraining Order to stop Lucas County from closing schools to allow the Evangelical and Catholic schools to resume safely providing in-person education to their students.
“First Amendment freedoms don’t go on a holiday break,” said Aaron Baer, president of Citizens for Community Values, which operates the Ohio Christian Education Network. “The Lucas County Health Department has not only violated the religious liberty rights of Christian schools and students by denying them the right to provide religious instruction, but they’ve threatened the futures and mental health of Lucas County students.”
“Despite all the medical evidence and experts that continue to say one of the safest places for children to be is in school, Lucas County has taken aggressive action to deny children the right to in-person education. Meanwhile, they’ve let casinos, strip clubs, liquor stores, and concerts continue. We cannot sit idly by while children and freedoms are being harmed.”
OCEN and the Christian schools retained Brian Fox, Corporate Counsel at Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP to file the complaint.
“Regardless of how well-intentioned TLCHD may be, the Resolution is misguided and violates the federal constitution by burdening religious institutions yet failing to prohibit other gatherings that pose more sinister health risks to community spread,” the complaint says.
This lawsuit follows a letter sent by OCEN, before the order went into effect, to discuss Christian schools’ concerns with the order. Despite multiple attempts by OCEN to have a conversation with the Health Board on how best to serve students – both medically and academically – the Health Board ignored OCEN’s outreach efforts.
As Ohio’s Family Policy Council, Citizens for Community Values seeks the good of our neighbors throughout Ohio by advocating for public policy that reflects the truth of the Gospel. We endeavor to create an Ohio where God’s blessings of life, family, and religious freedom are treasured, respected, and protected.