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Waco judge halts Texas Attorney General lawsuit over mask mandates in local school districts

Children Mask policy
Posted at 4:51 PM, Oct 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-26 18:26:04-04

A Waco judge has decided to grant a plea to abate lawsuits filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Waco and La Vega ISD's mask mandates.

The lawsuit was filed by Paxton last month on Monday, Sept. 13, and claimed that the state will suffer “irreparable harm” unless 414th State District Judge Vicki Menard issues an injunction blocking the mask mandates.

Waco ISD Chief of Staff Kyle DeBeer said the school district is pleased with Menard's decision on Monday to halt the lawsuit, pending a final decision possibly coming from the Texas Supreme Court.

We are pleased with the judge’s decision to grant the plea in abatement and appreciate her careful consideration of the issues in this case. We’ll continue to monitor legal developments across the state and public health developments in our community and reassess our approach as developments warrant.
- Waco ISD Chief of Staff

Paxton said the mask mandate directives are a direct violation of Gov. Abbott's GA-38 which prohibits governmental entities and officials from mandating face coverings or vaccines. According to the Attorney General, the Governor's order supersedes local rules and regulations.

In response to the lawsuit, Waco ISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon said last month that the school district's focus is on decreasing the COVID-19 case count among students and staff.

On Monday Rhiannon Settles, Director of Health Services at Waco ISD, said the number of COVID-19 cases has been dropping since the district's mask mandate went into effect.

"We want to make sure our schools are as safe as possible, putting the masks back on made a huge difference in the number of cases that we saw," said Settles. "As soon as we did that our case count dropped and its dropped every single week since then."