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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Six parents have filed a lawsuit alleging that Springfield Public Schools doesn't have the authority to require masks.

The Springfield News-Leader reports the parents argue the mask mandate in place since August is a legal overreach and infringes on the rights of parents.

Springfield is one of the only districts in southwest Missouri that still requires masking for all students and employees.

Stephanie Sproule, one of the parents named in the lawsuit, has expressed frustration about the required masking in recent board meetings. She said earlier this month it was time for parents to "stand up and demand our freedoms back."

But Stephen Hall, the district's chief communications officer, described the lawsuit as "frivolous, short-sighted and harmful."

He said the district has repeatedly stated it intends to lift the masking requirement no later than mid-January and noted the district's youngest student only recently became eligible to be vaccinated.

"SPS is confident that our district is on the right side of history and that the courts will affirm the decisions we've made to protect the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable among us — our children," Hall said.

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