DALLAS — Editor's note: This story has been updated to include statements from the school.
Paxton announced Friday he's filed lawsuits against six Texas school districts that are requiring masks for students and staff. Among them are the Richardson and Sherman ISDs here in North Texas.
- Elgin ISD
- Galveston ISD
- Richardson ISD
- Round Rock ISD
- Sherman ISD
- Spring ISD
With the delta variant running rampant, dozens of districts across Texas have defied Governor Greg Abbott's order banning mask mandates.
Paxton said they're violating Abbott's Executive Order GA-38, which put him in charge of the statewide response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Not only are superintendents across Texas openly violating state law, but they are using district resources—that ought to be used for teacher merit raises or other educational benefits—to defend their unlawful political maneuvering,” Paxton said in a news release.
WFAA reached out to both Richardson and Sherman ISDs for comment. Richardson ISD said they had not been served with a lawsuit and does not comment on pending litigation. Sherman ISD said it had also not gotten more information about the lawsuit.
"Once additional information has been received by the District, it will evaluate the pending litigation at that time," a spokesperson said. "The District has and will continue to focus on promoting a safe and healthy learning environment for our students and staff, to include keeping its schools open and accessible for instruction as well as extracurricular activities.”
School districts and the state's Republican leaders have been tangled in a back-and-forth over mask mandates. Opponents to the mandates argue that it should be up to parents and personal choice to decide when to wear a mask. However, several medical groups - including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and others - have recommended faces masks be required in classrooms to keep kids safe, especially those still not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education has promised funding for those schools who may be punished by states for mask mandates.