Advance Notice: Briefs

‘Let Them Play’ presses on with lawsuit against DHHS despite social media controversy 

By: - February 2, 2021 2:55 pm

Department of Health and Human Services | Susan J. Demas

Let Them Play, a Michigan group advocating to put an end to COVID-19 restrictions against high school sports, filed a lawsuit against the state this week amid controversy over organizer Jayme McElvany. 

After the Michigan Advance reported that McElvany posted COVID skepticism, debunked election fraud conspiracies and QAnon rhetoric on her social media, some of McElvany’s posts have been removed by Facebook, according to her. She also said that she was traveling to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, the day of the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

On the morning of Jan. 6, McElvany posted: “Guys … it’s gonna be the most shocking day in American history today. Invite people to the group. Everyone needs to be ready for what’s about to be revealed. I will update you as soon as it happens. Many traitors on both sides. Please pray that all evil gets revealed. Pray pray pray.”

MLive reported Monday that McElvany’s personal Facebook account was locked for violating the site’s community standards, but was re-opened within 24 hours. It was also reported that some posts and comments on the group’s page were being removed by Facebook.

But this didn’t stop Let Them Play from going through with its plan to sue the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for violation of equal protections, procedural and substantive due process, the right to free assembly, the right to free education, the Michigan Elliot-Larson Civil Rights Act and the Administrative Procedures Act. 

The Plaintiffs on the complaint are Let Them Play, Inc., the Michigan Amateur Youth Hockey League and a number of parents of student athletes. 

The lawsuit was filed in the Court of Claims against DHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel, who took over the department after former Director Robert Gordon stepped down last month. The ban on indoor contact sports was extended by Gordon on Jan. 22 until Feb. 21. 

Michigan has more than 560,000 COVID cases and more than 14,600 deaths.

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.