North Texas School District Changes Dress Code to Require Masks

The Paris ISD School Board voted 5-1 in favor of the change, against Governor's Order

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The latest challenge to Governor Abbot’s mask mandate is coming from the Paris ISD.

The school district is about 100 miles northeast of Dallas. The board recently voted five to one to make masks required as part of the district's dress code.

School leaders said the governor can’t challenge their ability to dictate how students dress on campus.

When Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa first challenged Governor Abbot’s mask mandate ban in Texas schools, those wanting masks praised him for his bold leadership and willingness to fight.    

As the move continues to be challenged in the court system, Paris ISD decided they would also challenge Abbott by simply making masks part of their dress code.

"There are things in our dress code I don’t agree with, but my son wearing an earring won’t kill another child. This is a great use of that policy. I’m just so proud of them for protecting our kids," said Becca Rogers a mother of three in Paris ISD.

She is immunocompromised and had been worried about her boys being around other kids who were maskless and able to spread their germs.  

Paris, Texas has more than 400 COVID-19 cases currently and with the delta variant spreading, Rogers said masks are the only choice.

"It bothers me that more people are concerned about their own personal preference or convenience and not what the medical professionals are saying," said Rogers. "We had several doctors speak at the meeting last night, one was an ICU doctor and it was very emotional you could tell they’re very concerned. I think that’s who we should listen to."

Parents are supporting and expressing anger with the board's decision.

On both sides, there was surprise that the small district would be the one to take up this challenge. The board's argument is that the governor can’t dictate something as personal as the school's dress code. 

It’s another opinion that will likely wind up in court, but part of a growing number of challenges to the governor’s order.

"I’m very proud they were so inventive," said Rogers.

In a statement, the district said, "The Texas Governor does not have the authority to usurp the Board of Trustees’ exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of the public schools of the district."

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