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Kenosha County Eye

Kenosha Parent Takes Kenosha Unified To Federal Court Over Student Mask Mandate

Carolena (Lena) (13), Pastor Jim Roemke, and Eva (11)

A Kenosha Unified School District parent, Pastor Jim Roemke, filed a federal lawsuit yesterday in the Eastern District of Wisconsin concerning the district’s policy that forces all students to wear masks. The Kenosha School Board, the Interim Superintendent, Beth Ormseth, and Yolanda Adams – board president are all named as defendants.

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Pastor Jim Roemke of Messiah Lutheran church here in Kenosha told the KCE why he filed the action. Before the start of the 2021/2022 school year, Roemke was hoping that the Kenosha School Board would make masks optional. They board however, made masks mandatory for all students.

(KTEC) Principal Angela Andersson (D)

Before school started Roemke called his daughters’ school principal and told her his concerns. Angela Andersson (D) assured Roemke that the school would work with his family. Roemke told her he wasn’t going to force his daughters to wear masks in school. Roemke told Lena and Eva that they didn’t have to wear masks to school if they didn’t want to. He gave them the option. He also mentioned that they would not be disciplined at home for any discipline they received at school for not wearing their masks. Lena would later tell her father that she wasn’t going to wear masks because she “hated them” and they were unconformable. Lena began to receive threats at school from teachers and students, telling her that she could be responsible for getting others sick.

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Assistant Principal Brianne McPhee (D)

After Lena refused to wear her mask, Assistant principal Brianne McPhee (D), at the direction of Andersson sent Lena home from school, causing the student to get behind on her work. This would happen at least two other times. “We’re just following the rules,” McPhee said to Roemke. “This sounds historically like ‘just following orders’, ” Roemke snapped back.

William Haithcock

Religious Waiver

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Roemke called the KUSD administration building and spoke to William Haithcock, Chief of School leadership. Haithcock assured Roemke that he could apply for a religious exemption and he would consider it. Two applications were made utilizing the fourth commandment – Honor your father and mother. “Parents are, according to the bible, the best advocates for their children’s needs and should have the final say regarding safety and wellness for their children,” the lawsuit reads. Roemke would never hear back from Haithcock. Instead, Roemke says, he got a denial letter two days later from an attorney.

Roemke’s younger daughter Eva also chose not to wear her mask, but it seems she was shown more Grace from her teachers.

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The lawsuit asserts 7 claims of action citing violations of the bill of rights and is seeking the court declare the mask policy unconstitutional, an order prohibiting KTEC administration from sending his daughters home, attorneys fees, and other relief just and proper.

KUSD didn’t immediately respond to our request for comment.

Click here to read the entire lawsuit.


  • Kevin Mathewson

    Kevin Mathewson is a disciple of Christ, husband and a father to two wonderful children. Mathewson was born and raised in Lake County, IL and worked as a police & fire dispatcher from 2005 to 2010 in Round Lake Beach, IL. Mathewson moved to Kenosha County in 2006, later being elected to the position of Alderman of the 8th District in 2012 and 2016. Mathewson is a private investigator, security contractor, journalist, and photographer. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, camping and boating. His favorite amendment is the second, followed closely by the first. He loves his country and community.


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8 Responses

  1. Bravo to this extremely brave and principled parent, his children will thank him in the future.
    Thanks for standing up to what is right and just

  2. Why was the case filed in the Western District of Wisconsin. Kenosha is in the Eastern District. Could someone confirm?

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