The previously unknown Republican candidate for state Senate who shocked the political world and defeated long-time Democratic State Senate President Steve Sweeney last November has introduced a bill that calls for parents, not the government, to decide if their children are going to wear a mask in school.

Sen. Edward Durr, R-Gloucester, is sponsoring legislation that would require schools in the Garden State to get approval from parents before mandating that students utilize a medical device.

“If you’re not aware a mask is considered a medical device by the description by the FDA, and a medical device should be a parent’s domain to decide when their child has it,” he said.

Include lawmakers

He said Gov. Phil Murphy’s decision to impose the mask mandate in school without consulting the Legislature was an improper power play.

“If my fellow Senators and Assembly members want to vote in favor of what the governor wants to do that’s their choice, but at the very least let it come before us and do our job,” he said.

Parents' choice

Durr said decisions about children should be left up to parents.

Edward Durr
Edward Durr (Edward Durr)

“I’m a father; they are my children. I was the one who raised them. It’s my responsibility and it’s my right and my decision about how I raise my kids,” he said.

He noted a New York Supreme Court judge struck down Gov. Kathy Hochul’s school mask mandate because it was not approved by the Legislature, and a similar ruling occurred in Pennsylvania in December when the Democratic-majority State Supreme Court ruled 6-0 to end the school mask mandate.

It's all about family

He stressed when it comes to medical and health decisions it all boils down to family.

“We have family rights being impeded upon by the governor and I do not want to see that happen anymore, it is really hurting a lot of families,” he said.

He also said if parents decide they want their kids to wear a mask that should be their decision.

“If they decide they don’t that will be their decision, it should be left to the parent and I am going to fight for the parents' rights,” said Durr.

“You should be the one having that say, not some bureaucrat in an office that is deciding I’ve got to stop this for the people, no, no.”

On the issue of COVID vaccines Durr said whether someone is vaccinated or not, chances are very good they are going to get the virus anyway, so the only person someone is hurting if they don’t get vaccinated is themselves.

He noted his measure giving parents control would also apply to every location beside a school where kids are currently required to wear a mask.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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