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PARIS, TX (LifeSiteNews) — A Texas school district has found a creative way to get around the governor’s ban on school mask mandates: make facial coverings part of the school’s dress code.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Board of Trustees for the Paris Independent School District (PISD), a B-rated school district in northeast Texas, said children returning to school for the 2021-2022 school year will be required to add face masks to their school-ready wardrobe.

“The Board of Trustees is concerned about the health and safety of its students and employees,” the statement read, adding that 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.”

The move is directly aimed at circumventing actions undertaken by Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott to forbid schools from forcing children to wear masks against the wishes of their parents.

In an executive order issued in late July, Abbott solidified previous efforts to protect the freedom of Texans to decide whether or not to wear a mask or get the experimental COVID-19 shot, issuing GA-38 to prevent “cities and other state government entities from enacting mask or vaccine mandates,” Spectrum News reported.


The statement issued by the Board specifically acknowledged the purpose of the change, arguing that “[t]he 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,” the Board stated.

It remains to be seen whether the authority the Board of Trustees claims for itself, if challenged, will be upheld in the courts.

Earlier this week the Texas Supreme Court sided with Gov. Abbott by temporarily blocking local mask mandates enacted in defiance of the governor’s order prohibiting forced masking.

As reported by US News, lower courts in Dallas and San Antonio had previously upheld local mask mandates, but the state Supreme Court acted to temporarily halt the mandates awaiting a final ruling.

“[U]ntil then,” the outlet reported, “[h]earings for the San Antonio and Dallas school districts will proceed as scheduled.”

As reported by US News, Abbott tweeted about the development earlier this week, noting that the ban on mask mandates does not forbid Texans from wearing masks, and explaining that “[a]nyone who wants to wear a mask can do so, including in schools.”

The battle against forced masking in Texas schools is mirrored in other districts across the U.S.; in some cases school board meetings have turned into tense confrontations.

Many parents and other community members have voiced their belief that children, whose risk from COVID-19 is comparable to that from the seasonal flu, should not be forced to mask up for long school days Monday through Friday.

Daily Wire podcast host, author, political commentator, and Nashville-resident Matt Walsh recently voiced his opposition to mask mandates at a local school board meeting in Tennessee’s capital city.

In his speech Walsh argued that forcing children to wear masks, which can cause health issues and stifle children’s emerging language skills, is “cruel” and a form of “child abuse.”

Meanwhile proponents of the mandates insist that forced masking will ensure the safety of schoolchildren, faculty, and staff.

Earlier this month in Oklahoma, where Governor Kevin Stitt also acted to ban schools from imposing mask mandates, a school board member suggested that children who come to school without masks might “commit murder” by breathing around others.

In Florida battles over mask mandates rage, with some school districts, like Broward County, forcing children to mask up against the governor’s orders.

In response, Florida Governor DeSantis has threatened to freeze paychecks for school administrators who defy his ban on mask mandates.

Now the federal government has joined the fray, offering to fund any district whose state monies are frozen for defying the ban on forced masking.

On Wednesday President Biden said he would pursue legal action against state governors who leave masking up to parents rather than authorizing or requiring school boards to mandate facial coverings.

News of the Paris Independent School District’s creative circumvention of the Texas governor’s executive order follows reports that Abbott tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. The governor is “fully vaccinated” and has even received a third dose of the experimental drug as a booster shot.

Abbott has said he is symptom-free and “will remain engaged every day to govern the great state of Texas.”