HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed suit against six school districts for violating Governor Abbott’s Executive Order that bans masks mandates.
The districts include Round Rock, Richardson, Sherman, Elgin, and Galveston. The AG’s office also secured a temporary restraining order against Paris ISD on Tuesday.
No school districts in the Rio Grande Valley have been served a lawsuit from Paxton.
Kevin O’Hanlon represents six valley school districts that are battling against GA-38. While their case is still going through the courts, O’Hanlon says this new lawsuit will only make things more complicated.
“It’s not the AG’s office trying to resolve the issue, they are doing a publicity stunt,” O’hanlon said. “Filing multiple lawsuits in other jurisdictions and in trial courts is only going to add to the confusion.”
The temporary restraining order that was granted by a district last month is still in place. But there is still confusion on who can enforce GA-38 if the TRO is lifted.
According to O’hanlon, the only people that can enforce the law on behalf of the Governor is the District Attorney’s Office. ValleyCentral reached out to both the Hidalgo and Cameron County District Attorneys to find out if they plan to execute GA-38 on local school districts. At this time, we have not gotten a response.
But O’hanlon says he does not expect the local DA’s office to file suit against schools for implementing a mask mandate.
“Do I think they are going to do that? My suspicions are ‘no.'” O’Hanlon said. “If they do, we will on behalf of our clients resist that.”
While no Valley school districts have been served with a lawsuit, the plan for O’hanlon’s clients is to keep their mask mandates for now.
“We’ll see what happens but if it is one of our clients, we’ll meet them at the courthouse and have this discussion,” O’Hanlon said. “It is our opinion that this is a local matter.”