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Pastors of Cornerstone Christian Church sue San Antonio, Bexar Co. officials over in-person learning restrictions

The lawsuit alleges constitutional breaches and infringement of religious freedom.

SAN ANTONIO — The parents of children attending Cornerstone Christian Schools (CCS) have joined pastors John and Matthew Hagee in suing Bexar County and San Antonio officials.

Plaintiffs argue Metro Health’s directive of restricting in-person learning at all public and private schools until after Labor Day is unconstitutional and violates religious freedoms.  

Defendants include San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, Metro Health Medical Director Dr. C. Junda Woo and SAPD Chief William McManus. 

The suit also names a compliance officer who visited Cornerstone Schools after an anonymous tip that it was violating local COVID-19 restrictions.

Last week’s court filing indicates CCS parents would face hardships such as having to quit their jobs if they are unable to send their kids back to school before Labor Day.

Nirenberg stressed the faith community has been proactive to protect its congregants. At Tuesday evening's coronavirus briefing, he criticized Attorney General Ken Paxton  

“Every time it seems that our Attorney General appears on the scene during this pandemic, it creates confusion and chaos and leaves a wake, and that confusion and chaos cost lives this fall,” Nirenberg said.

The City of San Antonio has been working with several private religious schools on safety measures and compliance efforts for the upcoming school year. But they’ve yet to reach out with Cornerstone Christian Schools as of Tuesday.

San Antonio City Attorney Andy Segovia said there will be consequences for those schools which fail to follow Metro Health’s.

“There’s a range of enforcement mechanisms obviously. We don’t want to use really any of them, but we will enforce the order if we need to.”

At this time, Cornerstone Christian Schools plans to open back up Aug. 17.

On Facebook, Cornerstone Christian Schools posted, “We believe that parents should have the right to decide what is best for their families in the context of their children’s education. As such, all CCS students will have the option of in-person or virtual schooling.”

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