By Karen Morfitt

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Before heading into a courtroom, arguments about mask mandates were being made outside the Jefferson County Courthouse on Tuesday.

“These kids belong to these parents not the government the constitution gives us the rights to make decisions for our children,” Pattie Cabrera said. Her students are graduates of Faith Christian Academy.

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(credit: CBS)

Jefferson County Public Health officials are seeking a court order that would require Faith Christian Academy, Beth-Eden Baptist School and Augustine Classical Academy to comply with the public health orders.

They were alerted by parents that the schools may not be following mandates almost as soon as students returned to the classroom.

“We sent inspectors out because we received complaints about masks,” Dr. Dawn Comstock, executive Director of Jefferson County Public health said during questioning on Tuesday.

Comstock was the only witness to take the stand on the first day of the hearing.

In addition to compliance with public health orders, the county is also asking a judge order the three faith-based schools to allow inspectors inside.

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Their complaint details a number of attempts to check for compliance in which inspectors say they were denied entry.

“Anytime our inspectors are not allowed immediate entry into a facility it provides time for a facility to come into temporary compliance,”  Comstock said.

The attorney for Faith Academy tried to show the school attempted to comply with the mask rules. Augustine Classical Academy sent an email to parents that only parents can act on behalf of a child.

Beth Eden’s lawyer told the court they are now in compliance with the mask order.

For those who showed up in support of the schools, they raised concerns that the religious schools were being targeted by the county.

“They are trying to make an example out of them so why do you don’t have them going into other school districts and enforcing this,” Jim Macguire said as he stood outside the courtroom.

With each of the schools arguing their own case against the county, it will likely be sometime before a decision is reached.

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Court will resume Wednesday morning.

Karen Morfitt