General Counsel to Paris ISD explains face mask decision

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 7:02 PM CDT
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Paris, Texas (KXII) - School starts Thursday for Paris ISD, and everyone will be asked to wear a face mask.

The Paris School Board of Trustees met Tuesday and decided to add them to the dress code in an attempt to go around governor Abbott’s mask mandate ban.

General Counsel for the district, Dennis Eichelbaum, said they could do this.

Chapter 11 of the Texas Education code gives school boards the authority to govern their districts, which means they choose the dress code.

And in this case, masks are a part of that dress code.

He said when Governor Abbott signed executive order GA-38, he did not suspend any part of the Texas Education Code, which means the board can still put masks on the dress code.

The rule will apply to all employees and students.

It is not a permanent change.

“The purpose is to protect as many people as possible, and to get them in school, and to get them educated,” said Eichelbaum. “That’s why the school board is going to look at it each month to decide if have things changed, are we able have vaccinations come out, things will change, we know that’s going to happen.”

He added the administration would be the ones to implement the dress code because the school board just creates the policy.

And if anyone challenges them, the district plans to defend their policy and take it one day at a time.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is expected to send a cease and desist letter to Paris ISD about their dress code change.

The state Attorney General’s website indicates Paris ISD is currently not in compliance with executive order 38 and shows the Texas Attorney General’s Office has sent a letter to the district.

The school has not indicated whether or not they have received it yet.

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