Hours after the Fort Worth Independent School District opened the school week with a mask mandate in place, the district ended the order.
The reversal came after the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth handed down its decision Monday suspending the implementation of a mask requirement in FWISD.
Four parents, whose children are FWISD students, previously filed suit to prohibit the district from adopting a requirement for face coverings that violate Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order which mandates ‘[np] 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 another person wear a face-covering.’
The plaintiffs filed a new motion, seeking reinstatement of the temporary injunction.
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The ruling granting the temporary injunction was issued late Monday morning.
It reinstates the temporary injunction from the 141st District Court.
The district released a statement stated, ‘..the Fort Worth ISD will immediately cease enforcement of its mask requirement consistent with the terms of the Aug. 26, 2021 resolution of the Board of Trustees.’
‘The District and the Board stand firm in strongly encouraging all students and employees to wear a mask while inside any Fort Worth ISD school or facility,’ said the district’s statement.
“This is extremely disappointing,” said FWISD parent Alexander Montalvo. “The focus for all of us should be the health and safety of our students and our community and right now our healthcare community is saying and pleading with us to do everything we can to slow the spread of the COVID-delta variant.”
Montalvo has been a strong proponent of a mask mandate and virtual learning option.
He has two children in the FWISD, including his youngest who has asthma and is not yet able to receive a vaccine.
“We’re seeing these four same parents who are acting in a very selfish and destructive way, instead of helping the community in responding to the please of our healthcare community,” he said.
Not everyone agrees.
“I think that [the courts] made the right decision,” said Tatiana Miller.
Miller is a Fort Worth resident who has rallied around parents fighting for in-person learning and against mask mandates.
She said her son’s special needs cannot be met within the district, so he is not a current FWISD student.
“I think the focus should shift to what is best for each family. What is best for children’s mental health overall and let parents have the right to decide what is best for their child,” she said. “Our children have lost their childhood and now are being used as pawns in a political and ideological war.”
One of four parents who sued the district to stop the mask mandate said she is pleased with the latest win.
"It's exhausting. It is an emotional roller coaster, a mental roller coaster," said Jennifer Treger, a mother of three children in elementary school. "I think everyone should do what they feel most comfortable doing."
The parents' attorney, Warren Norred, said the case is about government overreach.
"We are obligated as adults in this country to say the emperor is all naked walking around," Norred said. "This is ridiculous. We have to do something about this."
Norred, a candidate for state senate who calls himself a "conservative Republican," said masks prevent teachers from teaching and students from learning.
"You've got third graders that cannot be shown how to spell the word 'isosceles' because (the teacher is wearing) a mask and we can't tell what the face looks like," he said. "You can't teach. You can't teach!"
Montalvo argued it should also be about protecting each other’s kids.
“This is happening because it’s a political fight,” he said.
In its decision, the court said it was reinstating the ‘trial court’s temporary injunction order pending disposition of the district’s accelerated appeal.’