Arlington ISD mulls legal options after latest mask mandate ban developments

Arlington ISD is the latest district weighing its legal options when it comes to mask mandates.

More than 30 people signed up to speak Thursday on all sides of the issues.

The district first announced last week it was drafting legal action to determine whether it had the authority to issue a mask mandate in part because there has been this patchwork of legal decisions across the state. 

That continued Thursday.

The Texas Supreme Court ruled against Gov. Abbott. He went to the court asking it to block a Travis County judge’s decision temporarily allowing mask mandates in schools.

The Texas Supreme Court rejected that, referring the case to an appeals court.

MORE: Texas Supreme Court temporarily allows school mask mandates to remain

Add that confusion into the mix as the Arlington ISD board of trustees sat down to get feedback from the community primarily on two issues. Should it sue the governor over the mask mandate ban? Or should it offer virtual learning as an option for students too young to get vaccinated?

A wide spectrum of people repeated misinformation or just felt it would be better for parents to decide. Some of the parents had immunocompromised children. They want the children around their child to be wearing masks as well.

Some parents said if there is no mask mandate, they want that virtual option at the ready.                     

"Everyone should be allowed to choose what’s best for their families," said parent Wimberly Mills. "Am I for people wearing masks? Yes, if that’s your choice. Am I for people not wearing masks? Yes, if that’s your choice. When we take away personal choices and responsibilities, what have we become as a community?"

"If parents and students are being given a choice as to whether or not to wear masks, I’m of the mindset that parents and students should also have that same option to go to virtually since they have no choice as to what is going on with peers or teachers," said parent Sara Fahsholtz.

The Supreme Court ruling was not the only bit of news potentially impacting how schools decide to move forward.

The Texas Education Agency issued updated guidance on Thursday. It noted there is legal confusion right now over masks and said that it won't enforce the ban on mask mandates for now.

Last week, a judge temporarily blocked Fort Worth's mask mandate.

As of now, despite the new TEA guidance, Fort Worth ISD says there's no change. They will continue to not require but strongly encourage masks.

Fort Worth ISD board votes to join mask mandate lawsuit against Gov. Abbott