Judge Overturns Texas Ban On School Mask Mandates In Blow To GOP Governor
A federal judge said Wednesday that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates in schools violates the Americans With Disabilities Act, bringing a major victory to advocates who filed suit over the Republican governor’s aggressive efforts to limit COVID-19 protections.
U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel’s ruling will renew school districts’ authority to impose mask mandates amid the spread of the coronavirus, and it bars state Attorney General Ken Paxton from enforcing Abbott’s controversial executive order, which he issued in July.
“The spread of COVID-19 poses an even greater risk for children with special health needs,” Yeakel said Wednesday, according to the Texas Tribune. “Children with certain underlying conditions who contract COVID-19 are more likely to experience severe acute biological effects and to require admission to a hospital and the hospital’s intensive-care unit.”
The group Disability Rights Texas filed the first federal lawsuit against Abbott’s ban in August, saying the prohibition on mask rules put students with disabilities at risk and denied them access to public education. The group said Wednesday that it was “thrilled” with the court’s ruling.