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Eanes ISD parents sue to end masking and separate learning spaces

Students are currently required to mask up in Eanes ISD schools or be placed in a separate classroom.

AUSTIN, Texas — Two people are suing Eanes ISD and the Eanes ISD Board of Trustees in order to end the district's mask mandate, as well as their policy of separating masked and unmasked students.

Currently, the school district separates unmasked students into alternative learning spaces, instead of suspending the students from school. However, failure to comply with the district mask mandate is still considered a disciplinary violation and noted on school records.

Students who follow the mask mandate are able to go to class and move around the school buildings freely.

Two people filed the suit on Aug. 30. In the filed petition obtained by KVUE, they say the mask mandate contradicts the state governor's executive order banning mask mandates and "violates clearly established precedent regarding the non-segregation of students."


In May, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting state agencies and government entities, such as counties, public schools and school districts from mandating masks.

The plaintiffs are seeking "injunctive relief," which essentially means they want the court to order Eanes ISD to end their current mask policies. They are also asking the courts to immediately order a temporary restraining order to pause Eanes ISD's mask enforcement, in addition to covering their attorney fees.

In the petition to the court, they say the mask mandate practices cause "irreparable injury" to students by violating their "constitutional rights."

"Plaintiffs are at risk of disciplinary action and segregation from normal school activities as a result of taking actions which are legal and specifically authorized by the Governor’s Executive Orders," read the petition. "Without intervention by the Court, these issues will persist."

KVUE reached out to Eanes ISD Sept. 3. A representative said, "We just received it this morning so we will need to review it."

Eanes ISD's Board of Trustee's implemented the masking policy on Friday, Aug. 27.

"Beginning Friday, Aug. 27, if a student does not wear a mask indoors on school property (including buses), campus staff and administrators will begin to address this in various ways, including providing and offering masks to students, reminders about wearing masks, addressing the issue confidentially, and having conversations with families," shared Eanes ISD in a statement. "If such approaches are unsuccessful in changing the behavior, the student will be assigned to a location within the building where he or she will be supervised and provided assignments. These locations determined at the campus level could be a classroom, office and/or a library or commons location."

District leaders have defended the decision, which has prompted mixed reactions from parents. 

"We can all agree that none of us can agree on masks, and none of us like wearing masks," said Heather Sheffield, a trustee on the Eanes ISD School Board. "However, we can all agree that we all want our kids to be in school safely."  

No hearing is scheduled yet.


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