How to Run for School Board — and WIN!


Blacktail Law Group is getting calls about all things school board elections, so we decided to answer your most pressing questions:

The basics*:

*Abby Moscatel is a school law, constitutional law, and civil litigator based in Lakeside, Montana. Her post does not form an attorney-client relationship and is not legal advice. To set up a consultation with Blacktail Law Group regarding election rules and regulations, consult an attorney.


Are Vaccine Mandates Constitutional?

In the early 1900s, we created a smallpox vaccine that prevented both transmission and infection. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Board of Health adopted a regulation forcing free vaccinations of its residents. If they did not want to take the vaccine, they had to pay a one-time fine of $5.00. (Roughly $120.00 today). A man challenged the regulation, in part because he had bad experiences with prior vaccines.

While his case was pending, he continued traveling, public speaking, and living life normally. The court ruled against him, and he had to pay the $5.00 fine: Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905).

The facts under Jacobson are like what we have with Covid because we are in a pandemic, and we have a ‘vaccine’ that various levels of government are trying to mandate.

However, today’s vaccine mandates on the state level go much further than Jacobson.  For starters, we see restrictions on conducting everyday life like travel, eating at restaurants, working, and shopping unless vaccinated. Second, the fine for not taking the vaccine is not a relatively inexpensive, one-time charge. Instead, it is invasive and expensive testing that is ongoing.

The courts are beginning to hear challenges to state vaccine mandates. We hope the courts recognize the differences between a one-time fine and being ostracized from society. One such case is based in Oregon and is being litigated in part by the Freedom Foundation. In Williams v. Brown (Case Number 6:2021cv01332), The challengers are either working in the medical field or state government. They all have natural immunity and antibodies. More plaintiffs are joining the action every day. They are challenging the state vaccine mandate because there is no natural immunity exemption.

The Biden Administration’s proposed vaccine mandate on the federal level is almost guaranteed to be unconstitutional.

First, the separation of powers prevents the executive branch from creating legislation. Here, Congress has not passed any legislation mandating vaccines. The Biden Administration uses the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to say that any business with at least 100 workers must force employees to get vaccinated or produce weekly test results showing they are virus-free. If a company refuses, the fines reach up to $13,600 per violation. OSHA will attempt to use its “emergency temporary standard” (ETS) to fast-track the rulemaking process. Most of OSHA’s emergency rules have been struck down by the court. Of the ten total rules under ETS ever, the Courts overturned four and partially blocked the fifth.

Second, even if the OSHA rule survives legal challenges (a BIG “IF”), we have a commerce clause problem. The commerce clause states that states have general police powers for health and safety, not the federal government. Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that health insurance mandates are NOT covered under the commerce clause. A vaccine requirement is arguably further removed than a health insurance mandate, and it affects employees.

Third, the government is trying to force businesses to do their dirty work. It is unconstitutional to make companies force mandates on individuals that the government can’t do itself.

So, are vaccine mandates constitutional?

It depends on who is telling you to take them, and under what authority.

Will businesses go ahead and force their employees to take the vaccine anyway, and before the court hears OSHA and Jacobson challenges?

Now, that is a different question, altogether.

Abby Moscatel, Esq. is a constitutional law attorney practicing in Montana, California, and Federal Court. Her e-mail is . This e-mail is not intended as attorney-client communication or legal advice.


Are Montana Students Required to Wear Masks on Privately-Run School Busses?

Published by Montana Daily Gazette

Lakeside/Somers Superintendent Price Retaliates Against Freedom Speaking Bus Driver

Somers-Lakeside School District 29 Superintendent Joe Price is out for blood. He is retaliating against Bus Driver Dick Syverson -bus #9-and manipulated the bus company owner to fire Syverson for exercising Freedom of Speech at a public board meeting.

When school board members voted for optional masking for students on September 3rd with a 3-2 vote Syverson got up and spoke, stating that he didn’t want his students masked or himself on the bus which was his personal opinion. This infuriated Price, who then sought revenge against the children’s favorite and beloved school bus driver. Syverson has driven the bus for 26 years with an outstanding and exemplary record.

Following the last board meeting a sign on the bus stated, -at the advice of Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen-“Masks are Optional,” and masks were provided on the bus for those who chose to wear them; that wasn’t hardcore enough for Lakeside Principal Stephanie Broyles, who got on Syverson’s bus and wanted to coerce the students into wearing masks.

She was then asked by Syverson to “get off his bus.”

Superintendent Arntzen revealed to Syverson to tell anyone who asked, “What is required by Montana State Superintendent of Schools has been done. All medical decisions must be made by the parents.”

The issue of forced masking on private school busses is highly debatable.

According to local School Law Attorney Abby Moscatel:

“It is unclear whether private school bus drivers and kids riding those busses are required to wear masks under Federal Law. The federal legislature has not passed a law requiring mask wearing on private school busses. There is not a state law requiring it, either. President Biden did issue an Executive Order requiring masks on many forms of transportation, like planes and trains, but private school busses are not included in that order. But, then, the CDC came out with its own order, which does require school kids and school bus drivers to wear masks. The legal question is whether the CDC’s rule would hold up in court. At this time, we just don’t know.” – Abby Moscatel, Esq.Blacktail Law Group

Superintendent Price then manipulated Treasure States Transit owner Hartley Hageness -who owns the bus Syverson drove- into firing the bus driver and who did so before tonight’s school board meeting! Price threatened to cancel Hagnesses contract if Hageness didn’t fire Syverson. Hageness then told Syverson that he was “not allowed” to speak at tonight’s meeting, against the bus driver’s constitutional rights. Hageness has been Syverson’s employer for 26 years and Hageness never had any complaints concerning Syverson.

Price is known for shifty moves, as seen in the this article, where he would not wear the very mask he enforced at a board meeting.

Elsie Arntzen, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, has communicated with Syverson and knows this is shifty and is for Syverson.

There will be a public school board meeting tonight at 6 PM in Lakeside, MT, at the elementary school on Adam’s Street for all who want to speak on Syverson’s behalf and these unconstitutional matters.


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