Masking Students, Unmasking Schools

  • Despite warnings from health experts and contradictory data, school officials are again forcibly masking children in Texas — with Gov. Greg Abbott and other elected officials just ignoring it. Jacob Asmussen has the latest.
  • Over the past several weeks, public school districts across the state—including those in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, and in South Texas—have either continued or reinstated mask mandates on school campuses.
  • The fight over forced face coverings in schools is currently tied up in court and traces back to last year, when Gov. Abbott and local officials began feuding over who has authority to impose such orders. Abbott, who had previously enacted executive orders to force masks and shut down businesses, flipped last July and proclaimed a new executive orderprohibiting mask mandates.
  • Local officials across Texas disregarded Abbott’s order, enacted their own rules, and sued the governor. Earlier this month, the Democrat-majority 3rd Court of Appeals was the latest to side against Abbott, but the case is being appealed to the Texas Supreme Court. In the meantime, school administrators are doing as they wish.
  • The Office of the Attorney General is maintaining a list of schools violating the order, but A.G. Ken Paxton’s staff did not return calls inquiring what else he is doing on the issue to protect families and students from the controversial mandates.
  • Observers note Gov. Abbott and the Republican-controlled state legislature could have resolved the issue a year ago by passing a state law to ban mask mandates. Lawmakers declined to act, and Abbott has repeatedly refused to add the issue to a special legislative session agenda.
  • “Children should not wear face masks, no. They don’t need it for their own protection, and they don’t need it for protecting other people, either,” said Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a biostatistician, epidemiologist, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
  • Internationally, the Irish Health Authority, after conducting a report on the subject last year, even called the forced masking of kids “child abuse.””
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