WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — State Supreme Court Justice E. Jeannette Ogden denied the Christian Central Academy’s request for a preliminary injunction against the state’s mask mandate in school buildings this week.

“The government, under public health crisis, has a lot of authority to reasonably restrict certain behaviors, and in this case the wearing of masks is rational, the court found it was rational,” said Jeremy Toth, first assistant Erie County attorney. “I expect we’ll win the next court date.”

The school is suing the state and the county for the right to make masking optional for parents at the school. The academy says it’s not that they’re against masks they just want parents to have the freedom of choice.

“Just like we don’t think the state should be educating our children and while the education here at Christian Central Academy is fantastic, we’re not parents,” said Michael O’Hara Director of advancement for Christian Central Academy. “This is a partnership and we feel that parents should be empowered to help make decisions for their children.”

According to the court paperwork, the school feels as though they’ll see an “exodus” of students. They expect to lose about 25 percent of their student population and will result in the loss of about $500 thousand dollars.

“You can’t paint every student or every family with a broad stroke. There’s varying opinions about the mask mandate,” said O’hara. “There are a number of people that turned to us specifically for the mask optional policy. So, if we can’t provide that policy, there is a certain percentage that will entertain pulling their children out of Christian Central Academy.”

Another hearing will take place on October 1.

Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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