The suit was filed on the day of the forum by Lakewood's Public Trust Institute, which sees Navarro's complaint as part of a larger problem in Colorado. PTI's website contends that "over the last two decades special interest groups have used Colorado as a petri dish to test drive extremist policies which has put Colorado’s future prosperity in danger. Public Trust Institute takes a multi-faceted approach to push back on these corrosive ideas which are chipping away at our state’s foundations."
As for Navarro, her site, dubbed Don't Tread on Mae, notes that she's dedicated to combating "the covert implementation of a CRT [Critical Race Theory] agenda," "parental rights regarding transparency" and "medical freedom in terms of vaccine/mask mandates." And this morning, she used social media to rip "the tyrant administrators, teachers union, the liberal media and the choice RINOs."
The lawsuit contends that Navarro can't wear a face covering for medical reasons. "One of those disabilities is a psychological disorder stemming from severe child abuse incidents that included suffocation," the introductory section states. "This disability causes her to panic and have substantial difficulty concentrating when her mouth or nose is covered."
The other disability, the suit continues, "is a nasal deformity that makes it difficult for Mrs. Navarro to breathe even when not wearing a face covering. Essentially, only one of Mrs. Navarro’s nostrils works, and even that nostril has limited functionality. Wearing a face covering exacerbates her breathing difficulties. Mrs. Navarro believes this disability stems from childhood abuse as well. Her doctor indicates that it appears to be a longstanding injury, and Mrs. Navarro has had breathing difficulties for many years."
The complaint adds that "both of these conditions are documented in Mrs. Navarro’s medical records. Mrs. Navarro received treatment for both of these conditions before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to receive treatment for them as necessary."
The most recent candidate forum is not yet online. But a video of a September 22 event shows all of the other individuals on the forum wearing masks:
According to the suit, Navarro asked that the district offer "reasonable accommodations" so that she could appear at forums alongside other candidates, but officials refused to discuss her requests. As a result, she didn't participate in a September 21 event and distributed literature outside the September 22 forum.
The complaint demands "judicial intervention" to allow Navarro to take part in upcoming forums, including one set for September 30 at Smoky Hill High School and another on October 7 at Cherokee Trail High School; click for details. The election for representatives of Districts D and E, who'll serve four-year terms, is set for November 2.
In a statement, PTI's Dan Burrows, who represents Navarro, insists that his client "is not trying to be a rabble-rouser. She simply wants to compete on an equal playing field with the other candidates, without being discriminated against based on her disabilities. With the clock ticking this election season and multiple candidate forums on the calendar, we had to act quickly to ask a federal judge to step in and force the Cherry Creek School District to stop treating Mrs. Navarro as a second-class citizen."
Asked about the lawsuit, Cherry Creek School District spokesperson Abbe Smith offers this: "The district disputes the allegations in the complaint and intends to vigorously defend this case."
Click to read Schumé Navarro v. Cherry Creek School District No. 5.