According to case filings filed Wednesday in the United States District Court for the District of Texas, a federal judge has decided that Texas’s restriction on mask regulations in schools violates the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
The verdict comes after months of disagreements between state and municipal officials over the implementation of mask requirements in schools not only in Texas but throughout the nation. Schools throughout the United States started to reopen. However, many pupils were still ineligible for vaccination earlier this year.
A Federal Judge Rules: Texas School Mask Ban Violation Of The ADA
The Delta variation sent Covid-19 case numbers skyrocketing again, and the Delta variant led Covid-19 reference numbers to surge again.
Independent school districts in Texas may be able to decide whether to enforce statutory rules for in-person education during the 2020-2021 school year, according to court filings filed on Wednesday. To that end, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order just before the start of the new school year that prevented public schools from mandating students and visitors to wear masks in their facilities, among other restrictions.
Having followed the governor’s order, Disability Rights Texas, an advocacy organization, filed suit on behalf of several Texas families against governor, General Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney, and State Educational Agency Commissioner Mike Morath, claiming that the spread of the virus placed students with autism health needs at even greater risk.
According to the case, children with specific underlying diseases who develop COVID-19 are more likely to have severe acute biological consequences and to need admission to a hospital, as well as to the clinic’s intensive-care unit, according to the lawsuit. This includes children who have Down syndrome, organ transplants, lung issues, heart disorders, and impaired immune systems, among other illnesses.
Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-38, according to the order made by US District Court Judge Lee Yeakel, is being challenged because it violates Title II of the Disability Discrimination Act of 1990.
The Plaintiffs have shown via the facts submitted that they are being denied the advantages of in-person learning on an equal footing with their classmates who do not have impairments. According to the judgment, the court has reached the conclusion that GA-38 violates the ADA.
Following the judge’s ruling, the Texas Attorney General took to Twitter to express his disappointment: Judge Yeakel’s decision to prevent my office from implementing GA-38, which contains mask requirements enforced by government organizations like school districts, has sparked a heated debate among the parties involved. According to the Attorney General’s letter, their department evaluates all legal options to oppose this judgment.
It also follows a September announcement by the United States Department of Education‘s civil rights enforcement arm that it would launch an investigation to ascertain whether the state’s school mask mandate prohibition was preventing school districts from taking into account or meeting the needs of the students.
They are concerned that Texas’s limitation on schools and school districts from having to put masking requirements in place may be preventing them from meeting their legal responsibilities not to discriminate based on disability as well as from providing equal education to students with special needs who are at heightened risk of severe illness as a result of COVID-19,” the department wrote in its letter to Morath at the time.