Austin, Texas – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Friday, September 10 that he has filed six separate lawsuits against Spring Independent School District and five other school districts that have continued to defy the recent executive order banning government entities from issuing mask mandates.
The other five lawsuits are against Elgin, Galveston, Richardson, Round Rock, and Sherman school districts. At least 85 school districts and county governments in the state have maintained mask mandates despite the executive order, according to a running list on the Texas Attorney General website. Some 23 school districts and counties that had previously instated mask mandates have since revoked them in response to the threat of legal action from the state.
It remains unclear why the six school districts are the first to be litigated, though the Attorney General’s press release about the suits says Paxton anticipates more lawsuits if schools continue to defy the ban. It has also been threatened that the state legislature could vote to cut funding from noncompliant school districts.
Governor Greg Abbott’s July 29 Executive Order, GA-38, prohibits governmental agencies, including schools districts, from requiring people to wear masks while on the agencies’ premises. Abbott said of the executive order, “We’re past the time of government mandates, we’re into the time for personal responsibility.” The school districts that have maintained mandates cite the influx of COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant and the impact it is having on the rate of cases in schools.