HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) – The 345th District Judge Jan Soifer granted valley school districts who implemented mask mandates a temporary restraining order against Governor Gregg Abbotts executive order GA-38.
The executive order banned local governments and school districts from enforcing mask mandates.
However, six local school districts that include La Joya ISD, Brownsville ISD, PSJA ISD, Edinburg CISD, Lasara ISD, and Edcouch-Elsa ISD, defied those orders.
Attorney David Campbell who lead the petition along with three parents from Travis County school districts argued that the executive order is putting students at risk.
“It’s odd that we have the governor using emergency powers to under the disaster act to essentially prevent school districts from responding to a disaster,” said Campbell. ” If school districts in Texas are going to be able to provide safe and in-person classroom instruction the ability masking mandates is at of paramount importance.”
Despite concerns from the school districts, attorney’s representing Governor Abbott said the Governor has not suspended statutes enabling school districts to enable safety.
“So when you are looking at a credible threat of enforcement it is not attorney general Paxton’s Twitter feed or Governor Abbott’s social media account it’s going to be on actions of individuals who are going to be responsible for enforcing these orders,” said Attorney Todd Dickerson.
Students across the valley and the state prepare to return to the classroom in person, the court sided with the schools.
“The critical nature of the time period being at a very difficult time in the pandemic and a very short time that school are about to start, I am going to grant the temporary restraining order that have been requested,” said Judge Soifer.