Paris ISD no longer requiring masks on campus
PARIS, Texas (KXII) - Paris schools announced Tuesday they are no longer requiring masks on campus. This comes a month after the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sent the district a cease and desist letter telling them to stop requiring masks. Paxton listed Paris ISD, the school board and the superintendent in a lawsuit over the same mandate.
According to a temporary restraining order signed by a Lamar County district judge Monday, Paris Independent School District is no longer able to enforce their mask mandate and, they backed down. But despite the order Paris ISD says they will continue to strongly encourage everyone on campus to wear one.
“It was a rather cowardly act on the Attorney Generals office’s part,” said General Counsel for the district, Dennis Eichelbaum.
Friday, the Texas State Attorney General filed suit against the Paris Independent School district stating the district does not have the authority to enforce a mask mandate, in light of executive order GA-38. That’s Governor Greg Abbott’s order that bans mask mandates.
In August, the district included masks as a part of their dress code citing Chapter 11 of Texas Education Code, which states the school board has the right to set the dress code.
“There’s absolutely no reason why if we want to have a dress code, there’s no justification for the government office without having suspended the laws that give us the authority to run the district, to allow us to do our job,” said Eichelbaum.
According to court documents, a district judge signed a temporary restraining order against the district on Monday making it against the law for them to require masks on campus.
“We are still encouraging everyone to wear masks even if it’s not mandated, Paris ISD has seen a significant drop compared to other communities in the area with regard to children being sent home for COVID-19. we believe there’s a connection with the mask mandate., and we encourage everyone to continue to wear a mask to keep everyone safe,” Eichelbaum said. “We’re now set for a hearing next week in district court, and at that time, we will be defending our board policy which permits mask mandates.”
Eichelbaum says they will be defending the district’s right to enforce safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A hearing is set for Tuesday, September 21. This will determine whether the temporary restraining order will be overturned.
In the meantime, the district has sent out a letter to parents stating masks are no longer required but strongly encouraged.
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