As the pandemic continues to cause problems across the country, the mask mandate controversy also rages on. Some states are requiring masks and social distancing, especially indoors.
Others, however, prefer to uphold individual liberty. This includes Texas, which recently banned face mask mandates throughout the state, a move that prompted plenty of backlash.
However, if certain public institutions don’t obey it, there will be consequences.
In May, Texas Governor Greg Abbott leveled a ban on mask mandates “by any government entity, including counties, cities, and schools.” But it wasn’t long before some began to defy that rule.
For instance, since then, over 120 schools have decided to ignore the ban and implement their own mask mandates.
As a result, the legal situation is heating up. Over 100 over those schools have already gotten involved in lawsuit battles, as they claim they have the right to issue mask requirements for students and teachers.
But Texas isn’t backing down.
Attorney General Ken Paxton made it clear: if they want to play this game, the state will swiftly retaliate with lawsuits of its own.
From Fox News:
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Friday that his office launched six lawsuits against six school districts that have defied the governor’s order and implemented mask mandates.
Paxton wanted to clarify that in fact, the state Supreme Court has already said Abbott has the power to decide mask mandates.
And he also said in a statement that Texas won’t let schools off the hook for defying the order:
The Texas Supreme Court has sided with the law, and the decision to enforce mask mandates lies with the governor’s legislatively granted authority.
Mask mandates across our state are illegal, and judges must abide by the law. Further non-compliance will result in more lawsuits.
Several school districts claim the masks are a health issue and Abbott is overstepping his authority, which is given to him under the Texas Disaster Act.
This is similar to emergency-based guidelines in other states, which gives the Governor some extended power and influence.
The issue will continue to remain highly controversial, especially as Texas has seen a new spike in coronavirus cases due to the highly contagious delta variant.
The state recently reported 25,000 cases on Wednesday of last week, which was the highest spike since late December 2020 (27,000 cases). Schools cite these statistics as well.
On the flip side, Republicans and other state leaders argue that masks do little to stem the spread of the virus. And they continue to stand up for individual rights and freedoms.
For the time being, the statewide ban on mask mandates is in place.
And if schools and other institutions decide to ignore it, there are going to be penalties. AG Paxton says these will come quickly in the form of big lawsuits, which many school districts likely don’t want to face.
It’s in stark contrast to other states like California, which seem to like spreading statewide mask mandates.