Here’s how three school districts are defying their state’s ban on mask warrants – KION546

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Dakin Andone, CNN

Discussions over school masks have taken hold again in the new school year, and some states have taken steps to limit the ability of local officials to implement their own mask requirements through the office of the governor or state legislature. paddy field.

These restrictions – Despite advice from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Recommend masks to everyone in the school, regardless of immunization status – Encourages a confrontation between state authorities and some local school districts in an effort to protect the community, especially students who are not vaccinated. paddy field.

Perhaps most notably, some Florida school districts have decided to impose mask obligations. Disobey the decree of Governor Ron DeSantis This prohibits such demands and threatens to rob the school if the school district does not allow students to withdraw.

However, some school districts have taken a more systematic approach, carefully bypassing state restrictions on mask requirements through careful legal manipulation and obvious loopholes.

This shows how the three school districts oppose state restrictions on mask obligations.

Texas school district changed dress code

The Education Council for the Paris Independent School District in Paris, Texas made headlines this week when it decided to include a mask in its dress code. Governor’s order He said no government agency, including the school district, could request a mask.

The ISD Paris board of directors said in a statement it had made a decision due to “concerns about the health and safety of students and employees.”

“The board changed the dress code for PISD to protect students and employees as it believes the dress code can be used to alleviate infectious health concerns,” the statement said. “The governor of Texas does not have the power to deprive the board of trustees of governing and overseeing the administration of public schools in the district.”

Ultimately, like the State Supreme Court on Thursday, the Paris ISD strategy could prove to be unnecessary. Denied Abbott’s efforts to stop dating Maskman Issued in local jurisdiction, we recognize these obligations at this time. The governor’s orders have been challenged by many jurisdictions, and Schools in Dallas, Houston, Austin and El Paso were completely against the order I need a mask.

Additionally, after Thursday’s ruling, the Texas Education Agency issued guidelines that it would not place restrictions on Mask’s obligations while executive orders proceedings were pending.

Dennis Eicherbaum, legal adviser to ISD Paris, has advised the school board to add masks to the dress code for over a year, he told CNN. So when asked if the ISD in Paris could impose a mask, he replied that he had “100% authority over the dress code”.

“This is where he really belongs,” he said. “The requirement for masks is exactly the same as the requirement for footwear and other protective gear that we need. “

This measure is not a “loophole,” says Eichelbaum, because the executive order did not suspend the Texas Education Act, which empowers the school board to govern schools in the district.

“It’s right below, and since the governor has never cut it off, we’re allowed to do anything within a fairly wide range of parameters,” Eichelbaum said.

The Paris IT department has not yet questioned the dress code, says Eichelbaum, but the district Included in the list of government agencies that “illegally impose mask obligations” Texas Attorney General’s website.

Eichelbaum says he wouldn’t be surprised if challenges presented themselves in the future, depending on how the other cases evolve. For now, if the Texas School District wants to meet mask obligations, it believes including the mask in the dress code is the best choice.

Oklahoma City Public School Bypasses Board of Education

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed the law earlier this year SB 658Except under certain circumstances, has significantly prevented the school board from requiring masks and vaccines.

However, that hasn’t stopped some districts, including Oklahoma City Public School, from demanding masks.

Director Sean McDaniel This month, in a letter to my family, I announced the mask requirements... He says that the law to prohibit such obligations only prevented the school board from making this decision. However, “the law does not prohibit the superintendent of education and the district administration from requiring our students, staff and visitors to wear masks,” he said.

Parents are allowed to request a waiver for medical, religious or personal reasons, the letter said. However, as of Wednesday, only 94 students out of about 30,000 (less than 1%) withdrew, according to OKCPS. Family members must apply for a tax exemption until September 10.

School district spokesperson Crystal Raymond told CNN he announced mask requirements after the number of reported student and staff cases in the school district rose from one to three digits in the first three days of school. ..

“This taught us that the implemented mitigation strategy was not enough,” Raymond said in an email.

The response from parents and staff has been “generally positive with the majority of students and staff being obedient,” she said.

It’s not just OKCPS. Schools in Santa Fe South, a public charter school district in the area, said earlier this month that masks would be required, but also included an opt-out clause.

The governor’s office has shown the requirements to be correct as both OKCPS and Santa Fe South offer the option to opt out. “As long as the kids have the option of five days a week and the parents can choose, the governor is fine,” spokesman Curly Atchison told CNN in a statement.

“School districts can use as many magic words as they want, but as soon as they steal their parents of choice, that’s when they break the law,” Atchison added.

Oklahoma Third District, Halberd Public School, In a letter Thursday, he announced he would start a date with Maskman., Citing incidents of mountaineering in schools and the wider community. Since the school began on August 12, seven people have been tested positive and more than 154 have been forced into quarantine, according to the letter. As a result, all middle and high school students had to switch to distance education.

However, the district letter to the family says those who wish to opt out may switch to the district’s virtual learning options and anger the state governor and attorney general.

Governor Stitt and Attorney General John O’Connor In a joint statement Thursday, he accused Halbert Public School of “choosing to openly violate state law.”

In a statement to CNN, Atchison pointed out that SB 658 was “passed with the support of 80% of the state legislature and the governor will enforce the law in Oklahoma.”

Neither Santa Fe South nor Hulbert Public Schhools responded to CNN’s request for comment.

Court rules Arizona District can make masks mandatory – for now

The Phoenix Union High School District in Arizona has been purchasing required masks for at least some time.

Public school districts can arrange this Maskman date – Announced July 30 Despite state law – at least until Sept. 29, according to this week’s decision by the Maricopa County Judge in a lawsuit brought by a teacher against the district.

The procedure alleges Districts cannot execute mask mandates under HB 2898The law was signed in late June and contained language prohibiting local courts from creating mask requirements.

However, a Maricopa County judge ruled this week that the law has yet to come into force, despite a retroactive provision that the law will come into effect on June 30. According to the judge’s ruling, the bill will only come into force for 90 days. after the legislation. The session will end on September 29.

What happens after that date is an open question, and district attorney Mary O’Grady told CNN there was another process to challenge the constitutionality of the law.

The judge also did not dismiss the proceedings against Phoenix Union High School and gave the plaintiffs the opportunity to modify the complaint.

KVOA, subsidiary of CNN The Tucson Unified School District also announced that it announced a Maskman date after a court ruling this week, followed by the Phoenix School District and several other school districts.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Union High School District “has been overwhelmingly supported by students and families,” school district spokesman Richard Franco told CNN.

“Parents and students told us they understood why we needed masks. They are very grateful, ”he said. “No one likes to wear masks, but our community’s postal code remains the hardest hit by COVID-19, and our community is working as hard as possible to mitigate the spread of the virus. I understand that I have to do it. “

When asked if the district would continue to enforce its obligations after September 29, Franco admitted that “viruses, guidelines and even legislation could change by the end of September.” ..

“We don’t know what the future holds, but we continue to be committed to the health and safety of our staff, our students, our families and the community at large,” he said. declared.

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