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Dugan v. Bowser

Description:  Two families who send their elementary-school children to a Catholic school in the District of Columbia are suing Mayor Muriel Bowser for continuing to mandate masks at their children’s school while lifting the mandate for virtually all other activities across the district. Mayor Bowser lifted the mask mandate for crowded bars and restaurants, concert halls and sports venues attended by thousands of people, strip clubs, shopping centers, gyms, and other businesses, but left the mandate in place for school children in the district.


Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser
Friday, Mar 11, 2022

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Matt Bowman regarding the decision of two families with children at a District of Columbia Catholic school to voluntarily withdraw their lawsuit, Dugan v. Bowser, Friday now that Mayor Muriel Bowser has dropped a mandate that required masks at religious schools but not at bars, concerts, strip clubs, and shopping centers:

“There was no legitimate reason to say that the parents of children in private schools can’t make their own decisions regarding masks while people in nearly all other private entities can. For that reason, we are pleased that D.C. removed mask mandates on kids in religious schools the day after we filed our lawsuit. Although we are dismissing our case, we remain concerned that the District is threatening to make kids in religious schools wear masks again if CDC numbers change. The District is not attaching that requirement to other places—like strip clubs, sports venues, and offices. If the District actually imposes a mask mandate on religious schools in the future, this discrimination could land the District right back in court.”

The following quote may be attributed to Sheila Dugan, one of the parents who filed suit against the District of Columbia:

“Never in my professional or personal life have I felt such excitement as I felt when parents started to realize this mandate had been lifted, and their children would be free. When our Catholic school principal sent official word out that evening, you could practically hear the cheers of our kids from across the District. As a mother, I'll never forget that feeling of immense relief. While we celebrate, we are intensely aware that this isn’t over. We are committed to ensuring this sort of unfair, irrational, and unconstitutional treatment of our children never happens again.”

  • Pronunciation guide: Bowman (BOH’-mun)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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ABOUT Matt Bowman

Matt Bowman serves as senior counsel and regulatory practice team leader for Alliance Defending Freedom, where he focuses on the impact of administrative law on religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and family. From 2017 to 2020, Bowman was a senior executive service appointee in the Trump administration, serving the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as Deputy General Counsel, and then in the Office for Civil Rights. Prior to joining HHS, Bowman was an accomplished litigator at ADF for over ten years. Before joining ADF in 2006, Bowman served as a law clerk for Judges Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and Michael A. Chagares, at the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and for Judge John M. Roll at the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. Bowman earned his J.D. summa cum laude and was first in his class at Ave Maria School of Law in 2003. He is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia and Michigan and is admitted to practice at the U.S. Supreme Court and multiple federal appellate and district courts.