For months, we’ve stated that mask mandates are ineffective and that masking children all day in school is detrimental to their learning abilities and is deteriorating their mental health.

As attorney general of Missouri, my office has repeatedly filed lawsuits, including 45 lawsuits against school districts last month, to end these mask mandates in schools. For months, our efforts have been criticized. But as the medical community wakes up from its yearslong coma, a consensus is growing that not only do school mask mandates not work, but they also impose serious harm upon our children.

In Missouri, my office has taken concrete legal action to pry power away from entrenched bureaucrats and place it back where it belongs: into the hands of parents. And to put it bluntly, those of us who are fighting for the unmasking of children, including Missouri, were right.

Suddenly, some of the most COVID-restrictive states are phasing out their school mask mandates. More states will undoubtedly follow. The Biden administration will tout its COVID response efforts as the reason for the unmasking. They’ll try to say they valiantly attempted to keep children safe, but the full extent of the damage that their mask mandates forced upon our children is not yet known. We must not let President Joe Biden take a victory lap and rewrite history in this manner.

Information was limited at the beginning of this pandemic, but today we know now that children are at extremely low risk for serious COVID illness. According to Dr. Vinay Prasad, “a (pre-vaccine!) analysis from Germany shows that if a child is infected with COVID — with or without preexisting conditions — there is an 8 in 100,000 chance of going to the intensive care unit. According to the same study, the risk of death is 3 in 1 million, with no deaths reported in the over-5 age group. These risks are astonishingly low.”

Experts agree: Children are more likely to die in car crashes or from drowning. The risk of “long COVID” in children is also minuscule.

Mask mandates in schools are ineffective at stopping the spread of COVID. For example, a comparison of case rates in school districts in Tennessee, Nebraska, and Florida showed that masked school districts had similar or even lower rates of transmission than masked school districts. And although many people relied on pediatric hospitalization numbers to justify mask mandates in schools, studies now suggest that those numbers were inflated.

In short, COVID information once considered the stuff of conspiracy theories is now widely accepted. And the notion that natural immunity afforded protection from the virus, though dismissed repeatedly, has at last been borne out by data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On that same note, many are recognizing what we’ve known for many months: that there are real, negative, and lasting psychological implications from endless pandemic restrictions.

The Atlantic reports that “research has also suggested that hearing-impaired children have difficulty discerning individual sounds; opaque masks, of course, prevent lip-reading. Some teachers, parents, and speech pathologists have reported that masks can make learning difficult for some of America’s most vulnerable children, including those with cognitive delays, speech and hearing issues, and autism.”

Test scores are down. Alcohol abuse is up. Suicide rates in teenagers have skyrocketed, and there is currently a national mental health emergency. The list goes on. And as more research is published on the negative impacts of mask mandates, our position will be further vindicated.

Back in December, we opened up an email inbox for parents to report school districts that are continuing to enforce mask mandates. We heard from thousands of parents, including some who reported social ostracization, physical separation from other students, and even law enforcement escorting students out of school simply for not wearing a mask.

We are sacrificing our children’s future to satisfy the neuroses of a select few adults and administrators.

Detractors have repeatedly said history will not look kindly on our efforts to unmask children. I say that years from now, history will indeed prove those of us who fought for children right and will conversely not look kindly on the administrators and “public health” officials that forced children to mask all day in school.

Eric Schmitt is Missouri’s attorney general and a candidate for U.S. Senate.