Texas AG sues six school districts over COVID-19 mask mandates

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The Texas attorney general is going to war against his own state’s teachers.

AG Ken Paxton announced Friday that he has filed lawsuits against six school districts — Richardson, Round Rock, Galveston, Elgin, Spring and Sherman — that have mandated masks for students, teachers and staff in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban.

“Not only are superintendents across Texas openly violating state law, but they are using district resources ― that ought to be used for teacher merit raises or other educational benefits — to defend their unlawful political maneuvering,” Paxton said in a statement.

“If districts choose to spend their money on legal fees, they must do so knowing that my office is ready and willing to litigate these cases. I have full confidence that the courts will side with the law – not acts of political defiance.”

It’s unclear why Paxton focused on these six specifically, as more than a dozen school districts have ignored Abbott’s ruling and instead taken measures to protect students, particularly those under 12 who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.

Abbott issued an executive order in May that prohibits mask mandates from government buildings, including public schools, saying that people instead must take “personal responsibility.”

“Everyone has had more than a year to master all the safe strategies that they can choose what’s best for them and their family members,” he said in July.

Texas reported 3,952 new cases Saturday and 166 new deaths, according to the state’s COVID dashboard.

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