California parents suing Newsom to reopen schools: 'We are worried about lifelong negative effects'

California parents sue Gov. Newsom to open schools for in-person learning amid COVID pandemic

Christine Ruiz and Jesse Petrilla address lawsuit against California Gov. Gavin Newsom over in-person learning.

Two California parents suing to force Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to reopen schools for in-person learning this fall are growing increasingly concerned about the ramifications that extended school closures would have on their children.

Christine Ruiz told "The Story" host Martha MacCallum Monday that her two sons, both of whom have been diagnosed with autism, are "regressing profoundly and dangerously."

"They are not getting any type of education and we are actually suffering here … " she said. "We're seeing behaviors we never saw while they were in school and so if we could get my children back into school that would be a saving grace. "

Jesse Petrilla, a father of two boys, noted the damage shuttered schools have caused to both parents and their children.

"I can tell you from my personal experience as the father of two boys … we are worried about lifelong negative effects that can continue if these schools remain closed," he said. "Distance learning for a kid that age is nonsense, a kid needs social interactions, the structure of in-person learning and experts warn that distance learning doesn't even meet the current educational standards.

"Students will unquestionably fall behind," Petrilla added, "and this affects the working class the most, lower-income and rural students …"

At this point, Petrilla told MacCallum, he believes that "the anxiety and fear is more contagious than the coronavirus" itself.

While some parents are considering a switch from the public school system, Ruiz said her options are limited due to her child's special needs.

"My children need a structured setting, they need their team of specialized professionals … who educate them. They need hands-on learning, they need their teacher who specializes in special education, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and when you take them out of that setting all it's doing is making them languish," she warned.


"Our program choices are very limited to where can go. We found an excellent program within our own school district that works perfectly, which they’ve been in since they were 3 years old," Ruiz explained. "So that's a program they need to be in, and that’s the program that needs to open for them."

Ruiz and Petrilla have partnered with The Center for American Liberty to fight Newsom's school closure mandates, which they say are unconstitutional and driven by a political agenda.

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