SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah district judge ruled against a lawsuit that would give students an option to go back into the physical classroom in the Salt Lake City School District (SLCSD) through a decision made Thursday. Third District Judge Adam Mow stated the group of parents who filed the suit couldn’t substantially prove students were uniquely disadvantaged from virtual learning.
Classroom lawsuit finds no direct evidence of harm
The decision denied a motion for a preliminary injunction by the plaintiffs hoping to reopen SLCSD schools four days a week.
Specifically, Mow ruled that the 11 parents behind the lawsuit couldn’t prove “irreparable harms” as a direct result of virtual learning. Mow pointed to an argument made by the plaintiffs’ that SLCSD failure rates are increasing during the 2020-2021 school year.
“They [the plaintiffs’] fail to show any credible evidence regarding whether those rates differ from failure rates in the other 41 school districts in Utah,” Mow said. “Thus, the Court is left to speculate whether the online-only instruction SLCSD offered—rather than other stresses attendant to life during a pandemic—have caused the increase in failure rates in SLCSD.”
Equal access to education
Mow ruled it doesn’t violate the student’s constitutional rights to learn solely online because there is equal access to the curriculum offered in both in-person and remote instruction.
School districts decide how to teach
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