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Gov. Abbott's mask ban overturned by federal judge, schools get to choose

Greg Abbott mask
Posted at 6:50 PM, Nov 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 23:30:01-05

WACO, TX — School districts like Waco ISD that were being sued for mask mandates got good news from federal court.

A judge ruled Governor Greg Abbott's executive order prohibiting mask mandates in schools is illegal.

Waco ISD and La Vega ISD are among the 11 school districts in Texas currently fighting lawsuits over the mandates. For some, that worry could be going away.

July 29, Gov. Abbott signed Executive Order 38, banning school districts from enforcing mandates. If schools violated it, they'd be taken to court.

"I think it should be a personal choice, there are disagreements if they are effective," Attorney General Ken Paxton said. "Whether I like it or not, whether I disagree with it or not, it doesn't matter, my job is to enforce all laws if they are constitutional."

School districts across the state directly violated the order, including Waco ISD. Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon sent 25 News a statement:

"I'm not interested in politics, I'm interested in taking care of kids."
- Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon

The federal judge said the order was overruled because it is in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the document, the policy violates the federal law protecting students with disabilities aces to public education.

Waco ISD Spokesperson, Alice Jauregui, said masks are working.

"We are aware of the rules that came down," Jauregui said. "We've seen a significant decline in the number of cases reported since we did that. we had 285 cases reported and this week we only have 6 cases reported so far."

The ruling allows districts who were once afraid to enforce a mandate, the opportunity to do so. Temple ISD spokesperson said they will continue to encourage, not enforce.

The Governor can appeal this, but the public won't know the next step until that appeal is filed.