Headaches, harm and a Mom who decided to fight

By Scott Pickering
Posted 12/15/21

Carissa Moglia has two children. Her son is a senior at East Providence High School. Her daughter is 2.

She decided to sue the governor and the state after watching her son’s junior year, …

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Headaches, harm and a Mom who decided to fight


Carissa Moglia has two children. Her son is a senior at East Providence High School. Her daughter is 2.

She decided to sue the governor and the state after watching her son’s junior year, when he attended school part-time while the school was running a hybrid model, with students in school part of the time and home part of the time.

“He never complained about anything, until he started coming home from school with lots of headaches. And he noticed that he would not get them when he was on school breaks. They were definitely connected to school,” she said.

Her son has exercise-induced asthma. At the beginning of this school year, East Providence proudly introduced its magnificent new high school to students and families. In the beginning, there were some lingering electrical issues, which triggered frequent fire alarms.

“One day, when they had three fire drills in the same day, he pulled his mask down to catch his breath while he was walking down flights of stairs, and there’s a teacher right there yelling at him,” Moglia said.

She claims it happened again one time when the students were outside. A teacher yelled at her son because he took his mask down. This time, the student held his ground and told the teacher he was taking a mask break. She did not press the issue further.

Asked if she and the other parents are exaggerating their claims of physical ailments, Moglia was adamant they are not.

“That’s a legal document that we all signed on to. So 100 percent of everything we said in there is real. Our children are coming home and complaining to us, and we’re their advocates,” Moglia said.

Mom said she offered to home-school her son this year. “But this is his senior year, and he doesn’t want to be home with mom,” she said. “So he’s suffering through it and taking Tylenol when needed.”

Fighting against stereotypes too

Moglia is aware of the critics.

“A lot of people attack us and say, ‘you’re just doing this for political reasons.’ First of all, you don’t even know my political affiliation. And second of all, do you think we would pour all of our money, our resources, into this just to make a political statement, and throw our children under the bus, and lie on legal documents? This is true harm that our children are suffering, and we’re just trying to get justice for them, get some relief for them.”

Though some people attack, Moglia believes many parents support them and their cause.

“There are hundreds of parents, all over Rhode Island, who have reached out to us and are supportive,” Moglia said. “And some of them have contributed financially, but they don’t want to put their name on something publicly for fear of retribution that might impact their careers, or even impact their friends.

Win or lose, Moglia believes she’s doing the right thing. “We have to try,” she said. “We can’t just let our kids suffer and do nothing about it … For some kids, maybe there are no immediate effects from the masks. But we don’t know what is happening long-term. We don’t know what this is doing to their developing brains.”

Editor's note: We understand some readers will react strongly to this and related stories. Why did we spotlight this case and the people behind it? We think the case is noteworthy for several reasons: a) the potential impact on a policy affecting more than 150,000 people (students and teachers); b) the fact that a Rhode Island court found credible evidence of "irreparable harm"; c) the fact that both sides have appealed the same ruling (this is unusual); and d) because this case has received relatively little publicity thus far. We chose to spotlight four of the families involved in the case so that readers can learn more about who is behind the case — to know some of the people who are paying out of their own pockets to sue their governor and government. Lastly,  please know that we do not share their stories to celebrate them or lift them up. We make no judgment on their opinions. We are simply sharing their words; take from them what you will.

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Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.