ROUND ROCK, Texas — A group of Round Rock ISD parents has filed a lawsuit against the school district to stop its mask mandate. The lawsuit cited Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order stating no government entity, including school districts, can require or mandate masks.
Round Rock ISD announced masks would be temporarily required on campuses on Aug. 17. The requirement expires on Sept. 17, but the Board of Trustees is set to meet on Sept. 16 and could extend the mandate at that time.
The lawsuit was filed in Williamson County’s 425th District Court. Plaintiffs are suing for injunctive relief, declaratory relief and are seeking monetary relief of less than $100,000, according to the lawsuit.
Injunctive relief essentially means plaintiffs want the court to order Round Rock ISD to end its current masking policy.
“Plaintiffs bring this lawsuit not only to empower parents but to recapture their rights to make decisions they believe are in their children’s best interest,” the lawsuit says. “To date, there is no documented case where one single school teacher has contracted the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) from a student. This lawsuit seeks to protect children from an irrational and unconstitutional policy that provides a false sense of security and has the actual effect of harming children.”
Round Rock ISD’s Chief of Public Affairs and Communications Jenny LaCoste-Caputo issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit:
“Current Texas Education Agency guidance provides that school systems may require the use of masks or face shields for adults or students for whom it is developmentally appropriate and schools should work closely with local health authorities as we weigh operational decisions. In Round Rock ISD, we do work closely with our health partners who advise us that masks remain a critical tool in keeping our staff, students and community healthy and our schools open.”
The lawsuit claims that students who refuse to wear a mask will be removed from class and transitioned to virtual instruction.
“If Plaintiffs do not wish to follow the mask mandate, their children are sentenced to virtual learning, an online school system where students are confined to their home, banished from their peers, and the parents are forced to leave their jobs if they want their children to be educated,” the lawsuit says.
Students, faculty and visitors can remove their masks when they are seated in cafeterias or outside, according to Round Rock ISD’s website. Students participating in athletics, fine arts or physical education classes may be allowed to take off their masks depending on their instructor.
To keep track of current COVID-19 cases at RRISD, click here.
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