A medical doctor who serves on his local school board is facing an investigation from Illinois regulators over his criticisms of the state's mask mandate in schools, according to a report.
Sports physician Jeremy Henrichs, who is the vice president of the Mahomet-Seymour school board in central Illinois, accused Illinois's Department of Financial and Professional Regulation of threatening "my medical licensure unless I expressly support and enforce a mask mandate for all students." The school district plans to follow Governor J.B. Pritzker's (D.) mandate, but state regulators nevertheless demanded that Henrichs supply "a detailed statement on your opinion about masks, and whether you support and will enforce a mask mandate based on your elected position as a school board member."
Lawmakers are now rallying behind Henrichs. Illinois state senator Chapin Rose (R.), a former prosecutor who counts Henrichs as one of his constituents, filed a complaint with the Illinois inspector general's office. Rose said in a statement to the Center Square that the conduct of Pritzker administration officials amounted to political persecution and may violate laws against threatening a public official.
"Our society cannot both value free and robust debate where all viewpoints are considered and then open ‘official investigations' of those who disagree with the point of view of the investigator," Rose said.
Henrichs sounded a defiant note on both the mask mandate and the chilling effect the state's inquiry will have on public debate.
"The health of our student body is something I place first in my public role," he said. "However, the health of our democratic system is dead if we tolerate the intimidation targeting me and chilling the independence of innumerable other elected public officials."