Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), on Friday, Sept. 10, filed multiple lawsuits against six school districts for bypassing the Governor’s order and issuing mask mandates.
In late July, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order making it illegal for schools and organizations to impose COVID-19 related mandates.
The policies did not forbid mask use but aim to ensure Texans would be free to personally choose their COVID-19 response, which also applied to any form of vaccine mandate and passport.
In a statement about the lawsuits, Paxton blasted superintendents for diverting school dollars to fight litigation contesting the rules and warned that he would take more districts to court if he saw the need.
“Not only are superintendents across Texas openly violating state law, but they are using district resources—that ought to be used for teacher merit raises or other educational benefits—to defend their unlawful political maneuvering,” he said.
Paxton took legal action against Richardson, Round Rock, Galveston, Elgin, Spring, and Sherman Independent School Districts, which implemented mask mandates despite the governor’s order.
“If districts choose to spend their money on legal fees, they must do so knowing that my office is ready and willing to litigate these cases,” he noted with high confidence that the court would agree with the law.
With the Delta variant prevailing across the U.S., schools had become anxious about the potential risks of not all students wearing masks for their protection. The on and off mask conflicts resembles that of the legal fight in Florida.
Dallas and Bexar counties were the first to initiate school mask mandates, which led to a Supreme Court ruling in mid-August that required them to remove it.
But according to The New York Post, the counties kept the rules in place while both continued their legal fight. They won a temporary injunction against Gov. Abbott’s order from a state district judge until the supreme court on Aug. 28 granted the governor a relief.
As of Friday night, Paxton’s website listed up to 91 other districts that defied the governor’s executive order. Only about 20 school districts had removed the mask requirements.
Promising to protect children from threats of COVID-19 exposure, President Biden said Thursday he would take harsh action on the Republican governors who forbade mask protocols.
“If these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way,” Biden said, per The Hill.