TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Office is warning school districts to stop enforcing mask mandates on campuses.
The Eanes Independent School District received a letter Wednesday from Paxton’s office, which threatened legal action if the district continues to enforce its mask rules. The attorney general’s office says the district’s mandate exceeds its authority as restricted by Abbott in his executive order.
“I ask you to rescind your local policy requiring masks in public schools or, alternatively, not enforce it pending the Texas Supreme Court’s disposition of the cases before it involving this issue,” Paxton’s office said in the letter.
Eanes ISD was one of three local school districts represented in a lawsuit filed last month, which aimed to fight Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on face covering requirements in public schools.
The attorney general’s office argued in the letter recent Texas Supreme Court rulings determined state oversight on masks should stay in place until the courts can further analyze each case.
“The Texas Supreme Court has spoken. Local court orders purporting to enjoin the Governor’s authority may not be enforced while appellate courts consider the underlying merits of these cases,” the letter said.
The school system responded to the attorney general’s letter, saying district leaders will consult with the Eanes ISD Board of Trustees in the next board meeting. Until then, Eanes ISD said it will enforce its mask mandate as per Travis County orders requiring face coverings be worn in public schools.
The district says until a Travis County district court ruling is overturned by a higher court, then the Travis County orders will stand in its schools.
Several school districts have chosen to fight Abbott’s orders in court, including in Bexar County. The Texas Supreme Court on Aug. 26 decided to put a pause on San Antonio’s mask mandate in public schools.