PARIS, Texas — A Lamar County district court Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order against the Paris Independent School District in regards to the school district's mask policy after the court agreed with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that the district "lacks authority to issue or enforce a facemask mandate in light of Governor Abbott’s executive order GA-38,” according to a statement from Paxton's office.
Paris ISD earlier added masks to its district dress code, finding a loophole in Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order banning mask mandates. The school board added the dress code policy in August just before school started back for the 2021-2022 school year.
"The Texas Governor does not have the authority to usurp the Board of Trustees’ exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of the public schools of the district," the district said in an August statement. "Nothing in the Governor’s Executive Order 38 states he has suspended Chapter 11 of the Texas Education Code, and therefore the Board has elected to amend its dress code consistent with its statutory authority."
Paris ISD currently has about 3,900 students.
“The law is clear, and this superintendent knows this, yet he has no issue continuing to waste precious state resources on impossible lawsuits instead of providing for his students,” Paxton said in Tuesday's statement. “This temporary restraining order is just the first step in restoring order to our great state and ending this disruption from rogue local officials.
This is the second time this week a Texas school district has had its mask mandate struck down.
Fort Worth Independent School District students began class on Monday with a mandate in place. By the middle of the day, a judge had sided with parents who sued the district, and the mask mandate was off by the time school was dismissed.
The Second Court of Appeals of Texas, based in Fort Worth, has put in place a temporary injunction preventing the school district from requiring face masks while a group of parents battles it out with district officials in a trial now set to start in January.
The district can't require face masks in schools until that trial goes to court.