Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect which Central Texas school districts have been served with lawsuits from the Attorney General’s office and which have received letters of non-compliance with Gov. Abbott’s executive order banning governmental entities from creating mask mandates.
WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Parents from the Round Rock and Leander Independent School Districts met at Williamson County Justice Center Tuesday morning to discuss possible legal actions against their school districts’ Board of Trustees and their decisions to approve school mask requirements.
RRISD parent Michelle Evans said they wanted to meet with County Attorney Dee Hobbs to pursue criminal charges against board members and discuss the rights of parents during school board public meetings. They instead spoke to an assistant at the Williamson County Attorney’s Office.
“What’s important is that we continue to push for representation,” Evans said. “To push that [school board trustees] are held accountable for that they had been elected to do and to represent parents.”
The assistant at the Williamson County Attorney’s Office said these challenges will have to go through the legal system, factoring Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates in public schools, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s opinion and the school boards’ decisions into account.
During the meeting, the parents also demanded the charges filed against Dustin Clark and Jeremy Story be dismissed. Clark and Story were arrested Sept. 18 in connection to the RRISD board meeting that was cut short due to several disruptions. They were both charged with hindering proceedings by disorderly conduct, according to court records.
“It’s a travesty of justice,” Evans said of the arrests. “It was retribution [by the school district] and justice needs to be served here.”
The Williamson County Attorney’s Office said it received numerous complaints and have several pending cases with active investigations. Evans told KXAN she filed a complaint that is under review with the Williamson County Attorney’s Office.
“Government is slow — it doesn’t work at the pace that we need it to work,” Evans said. “So we’re working different approaches to try to get our ultimate goal, which is to protect the sovereignty of the family and to protect parental rights.”
Paxton’s office is in the middle of legal proceedings after suing six school districts, including Elgin ISD and Round Rock ISD, over their masking policies. After the RRISD mask mandate was previously blocked by a Williamson County judge, the Third Court of Appeals issued a hold on the temporary restraining order, reinstating the mask mandate. Paxton’s office has also sent letters to other school districts — including Austin ISD, Del Valle ISD, Eanes ISD, Leander ISD, Manor ISD and Pflugerville ISD — saying they are not in compliance with the governor’s order.