Federal Judge Blocks Texas Gov. Abbott’s Mask Mandate Ban In Schools

A federal judge has ruled that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott‘s executive order that bans public schools from imposing mask mandates cannot be enforced because it violates federal law by putting students with disabilities at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel of Austin also blocked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton from bringing legal action against school districts that require students, teachers and staff to wear face coverings as a pandemic safety measure.

The injunction, issued Wednesday, also blocked state officials from imposing fines or withholding state money from districts with mask mandates.

Paxton — who has filed lawsuits to overturn mask mandates in 15 school districts, and who has threatened similar action against dozens more — is expected to appeal the decision.

“I strongly disagree with Judge Yeakel’s opinion barring my office from giving effect to GA-38,” Paxton said on Twitter. “My agency is considering all legal avenues to challenge this decision.”

Ruling in favor of seven students with various disabilities and medical conditions, Yeakel said Abbott’s order — issued July 29 and known as GA-38 — violates the Americans With Disabilities Act by denying the students the opportunity to participate equally in school.

“Because GA-38 precludes mask requirements in schools, (students with disabilities) are either forced out of in-person learning altogether or must take on unnecessarily greater health and safety risks than their nondisabled peers,” Yeakel wrote.

Abbott’s office disagreed with Yeakel’s conclusions.

“As a paraplegic himself, Gov. Abbott cares deeply about the health and safety of disabled students, just as he does for all Texas students,” spokeswoman Renae Eze said. “Nevertheless, he believes the federal district court’s decision to be flawed and is working with the attorney general’s office to appeal that decision in order to protect Texans’ rights against school districts attempting to impose mask mandates.”

About J. Williams

Check Also

Ilhan Omar

House GOP Votes To Oust Rep. Omar From Foreign Affairs Committee

Jennifer Shutt, Minnesota Reformer The U.S. House voted along party lines Thursday to remove Minnesota …

Leave a Reply