School district: 5-year-old refused to wear face mask, saying ‘my body, my choice’

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A 5-year-old girl whose mother opposes mask mandates refused to wear a mask in kindergarten last year, telling her principal: ‘It’s my body, my choice,’ according to the court records.

The girl’s mother, Kimberly Reicks of Ankeny, is suing the Ankeny Community School District over the mask mandate it put in place in 2020 and 2021. She’s also asking the Iowa courts to clear any record of his own recent arrest on separate charges of criminal mischief.

Reicks stood with Gov. Kim Reynolds for the May 2021 signing of legislation that effectively banned mask mandates in Iowa schools. At the time, she was holding a sign that included a photo of her then 5-year-old daughter, which read, “My mask caused a staph infection on my face four times. My body, my choice. Unmask Iowa.

In her lawsuit, Reicks alleges that after she led a protest at a school board meeting against the district’s mask mandates, the district retaliated against her by placing her child “in a plexiglass enclosure” at the Northeast Elementary School.

Lawyers for the school district say Reicks’ version of what happened is “selective and devoid of any context.” They allege that the day after Reicks led her protest against the mask policy, her daughter showed up at school and was asked to wear a mask or face shield. “The 5-year-old flatly refused, stating ‘My mom will be mad at me if I wear my mask,’ and ‘It’s my body, my choice,'” the district alleges in court filings.

The district adds that its desktop screens, which allowed the girl to stay in the classroom without a face mask or face shield, were not a “plexiglass enclosure,” but clear, single-panel vertical screens that didn’t had no back, no sides and no top.

“They weren’t closed and look a lot like the transparent barriers we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in retail establishments to protect cashiers and customers,” the school district told the court in a recent filing seeking the dismissal. of the case.

The district says that prior to the protest at the school board meeting, Reicks’ daughter, like other students attending Northeast Elementary School, had been wearing a face covering since the start of the school year in August 2020 until the beginning of December of that year. It was then that Reicks requested a medical exemption and provided a doctor’s note stating that her daughter could not wear a mask due to perioral dermatitis.

The district then allowed the girl to sit at a desk with a district-provided shield on it. When the girl later opted to wear a face mask, a school nurse checked her twice a day to make sure she didn’t develop a rash, according to the district.

Reicks’ position, the district told the court, appears to be that the school was obligated to allow her daughter “to do whatever she wanted, based on nothing more than a 5-year-old’s say. year. Any elementary school teacher could talk about the absurdity of heeding such demands.

A judge has yet to rule on the district’s motion to have the case dismissed.

The criminal case can be expunged

Separate from the civil lawsuit, Reicks was involved in a now-dismissed criminal case that stemmed from her arrest by Ankeny police in March.

According to police records, at around 3 a.m. on March 6, Reicks and one of her adult daughters were seen by two people intentionally damaging Brody Fleming’s property at Fleming’s home in Ankeny. After allegedly causing approximately $800 in damage to Fleming’s clothing and mattress, Reicks allegedly told witnesses, “You can tell the cops I did this.

She was later charged with third degree criminal mischief, an aggravated misdemeanor, and a no contact order was issued prohibiting Reicks from having any contact with Fleming.

On June 28, a Polk County prosecutor asked the court to dismiss the case, noting that Fleming had requested that the charges be dropped. The case was dismissed and the no contact order was lifted.

Earlier this week, Reicks’ attorney, Alan Ostergen of the Kirkwood Institute, a self-proclaimed “conservative public interest law firm,” asked the court to expunge any records of the criminal case.

Reicks said Friday that Fleming is the ex-boyfriend of one of her adult daughters.

“They had broken up and I went to pick her up at his house,” she said, adding that she did not damage any property, as witnesses claimed. “It will actually be completely erased from my record.”

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