Honey Grove ISD named in Texas Attorney General lawsuit over mask mandate

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 10:41 PM CDT
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HONEY GROVE, Texas (KXII) - Honey Grove ISD was named in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit filed in Fannin County District Court Friday for requiring masks be worn in school, going against the governor’s order banning school mask mandates.

Honey Grove ISD superintendent Todd Morrison says the school district has been requiring masks be worn in school for the past two weeks but said he hasn’t received any notification of a lawsuit from Paxton’s office.

“I have had several people say that the Attorney General posted something on his website which named Honey Grove ISD but we have not received anything official on that,” Morrison said.

Despite being named in the lawsuit, Morrison confirmed that starting Monday Sept. 20 the district is going to give students the option of wearing masks when they come to school.

“We’ve got declining cases right now in the school district,” Morrison said.

Jesse Weger’s son is a freshman at Honey Grove High School and his daughter is in 8th grade. He says he’s been disappointed in the district’s defiance of the Governor’s order banning mask mandates to this point.

“It’s aggravating and it sets a bad example for the kids that the administration chooses which laws they want to obey,” Weger said.

Weger said he’s worried since the district was named in the lawsuit that legal fees could come out of tax payers’ pockets.

“They should obey the law, even with the governor’s order they should leave that right (to mask children) to the parent,” Weger said.

News 12 talked to three Honey Grove students who said they’ve been threatened with punishments that vary in severity, up to in-school suspensions, for not wearing a mask properly.

One sophomore student said he would not be able to participate in band, or play in the school’s Friday night football game because a teacher told him he was not “properly” covering his mouth with a mask in the hallway.

Neeley Mallicote said her five-year-old was approached by a school employee for not wearing a mask on Tuesday, even though kindergartners and pre-k students aren’t required to wear them by the school, she said.

“They’re being pulled from class, parents are being called, they’re being threatened with in school suspension and forced into isolation even from their peers,” Mallicote said.

Mallicote said their family’s personal decision was for their child not to wear a mask this year.

“I think that they’re trying to do the best that they can, but I don’t think it’s right to go against the governor’s order and to drag our tax dollars through litigation in regards to that.” Mallicote said. “I don’t agree with it, I would rather see those dollars go elsewhere.”

Morrison said in regards to the lawsuit the district is going to “let it all play out in court and go from there.”

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