Texas school district bucks Abbott's ban on mask mandates, changes dress code for students

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The board of trustees for a public school district in Texas changed its dress code to include face masks in a bid to get around Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on face mask mandates. 

“The Board of Trustees is concerned about the health and safety of its students and employees. The Board believes the dress code can be used to mitigate communicable health issues, and therefore has amended the PISD dress code to protect our students and employees,” the Paris Independent School District said in a statement Tuesday

The district added that Abbott does not have the authority “to usurp” the board’s “exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of the public schools of the district.”

“Nothing in the Governor’s Executive Order 38 states he has suspended Chapter 11 of the Texas Education Code, and therefore the Board has elected to amend its dress code consistent with its statutory authority,” the district continued. 

Abbott signed an executive order last month banning mask mandates or COVID-19 vaccine requirements from government agencies and schools. 

“To further ensure that no governmental entity can mandate masks, the following requirement shall continue to apply: No governmental entity, including a county, city, school district, and public health authority, and no governmental official may require any person to wear a face-covering or to mandate that other person wear a covering,” the executive order read.

“Today’s executive order will provide clarity and uniformity in the Lone Star State’s continued fight against COVID-19,” Abbott said of the order last month. 

Abbott’s office did not immediately return Fox News’s request for comment on the Paris Independent School District changing its dress code to get around his executive order.  

The district’s move comes as other red states have banned mask requirements in schools, including in Florida, where the state board of education voted unanimously on Tuesday to sanction two public school districts that are mandating mask wearing in defiance of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s executive order.

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