St. Ambrose Academy to petition state Supreme Court to rescind school closure order

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Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 4:51 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - St. Ambrose Academy is among several diocesan schools that are petitioning to the state Supreme Court against Dane County’s “unconstitutional and unlawful” school closure order.

Dane County officials ordered that schools be closed for in-person classes for third grade and above on Friday, Aug. 21, less than three days before many parochial and private schools were set to open, according to a news release from the academy.

A spokesman for the school said that an attorney from Troutman Pepper law firm sent a letter on their behalf and for seven other schools to county officials, demanding they rescind the order by this Friday at noon. The letter cited the “unconstitutionality and unlawfulness of the School Closure Order” and that it would cause harm to parents, children and schools across Dane County.

Neither the county, nor Public Health Madison, responded to the school’s noon deadline, according to the spokesman, and they will ask the Wisconsin Supreme Court for help.

“Dane County’s decision to be the only county in this state to close private schools for in-person education is as inexplicable as it is unconstitutional,” said the schools attorney Misha Tseytlin.

A parent at the school noted her disappointment with county health officials. ”They are not just ignoring but openly attacking our faith based schools,” Angela Hineline said.

The school launched a campaign Saturday on their website to fight the order and they have raised over $100,000 for legal expenses so far.

Attorney General Josh Kaul responded to the petitions in a news release Friday, saying he filed two briefs to support Dane County’s school closure order.

Kaul argued in the briefs that the Supreme Court should deny the petitions because the emergency order is a lawful and an appropriate measure to control the spread of COVID-19.

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