On Tuesday, Paris Independent School District in Paris, Texas changed their district’s policy to implement mask wearing in their dress code for all faculty and students.
Paris is a rural town about 100 miles from Dallas with 25,000 residents. Lamar County, where Paris is located, voted in favor of former President Donald Trump in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.
Right now, 29 percent of the population in Lamar County is fully vaccinated and 34 percent of the population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
This vote from the PISD Board of Trustees comes after Gov. Greg Abbott issued a ban on mask mandates even though COVID cases around the state are rapidly increasing.
The BOT issued this statement in response to the vote:
“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.”
Additionally, according to the board, Abbott doesn’t have the power to change their decision.
“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. 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.”
Other school districts across the state including Dallas and Austin have mandated masks in their schools, but Paris is the first to change district policy to get around Abbott’s ban.
The 5 to 1 vote comes the same day Abbott announced that he tested positive for COVID-19, a day after attending a maskless GOP event in Collin County.
According to his office, Abbott is fully vaccinated, has received a third booster shot, and is on Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment for his diagnosis.
Abbott and Texas AG Ken Paxton have both been resistant to mask mandates in the state and are pursuing lawsuits against school districts who defy them.
Photo: Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Kennedy is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Houston where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Celt Independent. Kennedy brings her experience of writing about social justice issues to the Texas Signal where she serves as our Political Reporter. She does everything from covering crime beats, Texas politics, and community activism. Kennedy is a passionate reporter, avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and loves to travel.