Federal Judge Rules Texas Ban on Mask Mandates Violates Rights of Students with Disabilities

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  • 03/02/2023

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates in Texas schools violates the rights of students with disabilities, paving the way for districts to require face coverings. 

The lawsuit, which sought to overturn the mandate, was filed on behalf of families of students with disabilities and the organization Disability Rights Texas, as reported by the New York Times. They argued that the defendants - Attorney General Ken Paxton, commissioner of the Texas Education Agency Mike Morath and the Texas Education Agency - put students with disabilities at risk. 

Judge Lee Yeakel, who made the ruling, determined the governor’s mandate ban violated the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act because it put children with disabilities at risk. 

“The spread of Covid-19 poses an even greater risk for children with special health needs,” Yeakel said. “Children with certain underlying conditions who contract Covid-19 are more likely to experience severe acute biological effects and to require admission to a hospital and the hospital’s intensive-care unit.” 

Attorney General Ken Paxton expressed his disagreement, and said that his office is considering “all legal avenues to challenge this decision.” 

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