SPRINGFIELD, IL — The first mask-defiant school in Illinois has lost state recognition after refusing to comply with state masking requirements.

The Illinois State Board of Education on Wednesday sent notice to Timothy Christian High School in Elgin that due to its refusal to require masks inside its school building, ISBE was removing school’s status as a recognized nonpublic school, effective immediately.

Due to its new status as a non-recognized school, Seniors who graduate from Timothy Christian will receive a diploma that is not recognized by ISBE.

This action is irreversible should the school later regain its recognition status, and these students will forever have a degree from a non-recognized school.

Also, families, and students will be unable to participate in the Invest in Kids Act tax scholarship program subject to the regulations set by the Illinois Department of Revenue and school will become ineligible to participate in Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) sanctioned sports subject to the regulations set by IHSA/IESA.

In a letter to school superintendents across the state, ISBE State Superintendent Dr. Carmen Ayala says Governor JB Pritzker’s executive order that went into effect last Wednesday has the force of law and despite pressures school leaders may be under to ignore the order, noncompliance is not an option.

She notes that requirements apply to all public and nonpublic schools serving students in any of the grades preK through 12, without exception.

She says ISBE has and will use its regulatory authority to ensure school districts follow the mask mandate and warns if school districts fail to do so, they risk losing State recognition.

Ayala adds that a district would have multiple opportunities to remedy the situation before losing its recognition.

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