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Central Texas districts taken to court for mask mandate policies, now heading to district courts

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Posted at 6:27 PM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 19:30:13-04

WACO, TX — School districts in Central Texas are being taken to court for having mask mandates, going against Gov. Abbott's no mask mandate order.

Normally we see issues between state-federal, but now we are seeing state and local issues. Experts are calling this a very long and strategic political game of chess.

Mike Yawn, director of Center of Law at Sam Houston State University, said we've never seen anything like this before.

"It's confusing, it's confusing to me but it's also very interesting," Yawns said. "We have a couple unusual aspects to this. First, can the government do mask mandates? Here the question is 'can the state government prevent local mask mandates?' which is a twist."

He said the Republican Party since its origin has been fighting for local power and is against federal regulation. But now, the rules are flipped in this match.

The party is preventing smaller governments from having authority. The question comes down to who will make the first move and what will that look like.

"A court will first hear this, and then it will go to an appeals court in the state of Texas and then it will go to the highest - Texas supreme court," Yawn said.

If there is a constitutional issue, it will then go to the federal supreme court.

On the federal side of the board - the Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, on Good Morning America said another argument comes down to how this is affecting children.

"So we are pushing the board and supporting the superintendents," Cardona said. "We are investigating through the office of civil rights where we believe students are not having fair access to schools because of really poor choices."

In Central Texas alone, four school districts are being taken to court: La Vega, McGregor, Waco, and Midway ISD. But their lawsuits are different.

Some schools are getting sued for their official policies, and others like Midway, are being sued for their overall recommendations.

The Attorney General's office is grouping them all together.