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Waco Midway ISD to AG: You've sued the wrong district

Ken Paxton
Posted at 11:14 AM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 16:58:44-04

WACO, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing four Waco area school districts for enforcing mask mandates, including one district - Waco Midway ISD - that doesn’t even have a mask mandate.

Paxton wrongly included Waco Midway ISD among the mask mandate enforcers, said Traci Marlin, the district’s director of communications.

“What a great question you have posed — I would very much appreciate it if you would clear up for viewers that Texas’ Attorney General is in fact suing school districts, including at least one that does NOT have a mask mandate,” Marlin wrote in an email to 25News.

The other three Waco school districts named in the lawsuit are Waco ISD, McGregor ISD and La Vega ISD.

Marlin provided information that was sent to Paxton's office last week, trying to clarify the matter, after a 30-minute phone call “in response to being added to the website list and Facebook threat.”

“Yes, Texas’ Attorney General threatens school districts with lawsuits via Facebook and that’s how we first found out about being on the list,” Marlin said. “No, Texas’ Attorney General does not verify whether a district does in fact have a mask mandate before adding districts to a non-compliance list and filing a lawsuit.

“Yes, a lawsuit from the state to public schools would mean using Texas tax dollars on both sides of the suit. No, we have not yet received a response from the AG’s office about why we were added to the list.”

Marlin said her district's "best and only guess" is Midway's addition to the list is “due to River Valley Intermediate’s 10-day mask directive that was in response to high numbers at that campus, which was one tier away from closing in our emergency operations plan.”

The attorney general's office told 25News the lawsuit was filed due to the "situational matrix" on Waco Midway ISD's website. According to the matrix, a 10-day mask directive would be issued if 5 percent to 6.9 percent of the campus staff or students have COVID.

Paxton said the directive is a direct violation to GA-38.

“Mask directives are not mandates,” Marlin said. “They are not required. There is no punishment or repercussion for not participating. RVI’s directive ends this Friday. The directive, paired with other logistics and efforts such as separating lunches, brought the campus case count down from 49 to nine active cases as of today.”

Marlin said the district has not been notified or officially served.