LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) – A court hearing on whether to suspend Longview ISD’s mask mandate has been set for next week.

The district is being sued by the State of Texas under Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order he issued in late July that bans such mandates.

After school began in August, the school district reported a spike in coronavirus cases among its 8,000 students and staff. In response, the school board approved a mask mandate in violation of Abbott’s order.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed several lawsuits across the state to varying districts that have also chosen to issue their own mandates. Paxton wrote in the lawsuit that the district is “deliberately violating state law.”

He cites the Texas Disaster Act of 1975 saying that Abbott alone is the “commander-in-chief” during a declared disaster and has powers that include issuing executive orders that carry the full force of state law.

The TDA does not confer on county judges, city mayors, or any other local officials an independent power to issue emergency orders carry the force and effect of law.

Lawsuit against Longview ISD (Page 5)

The hearing will be held on Zoom on Oct. 13 at 1:30 p.m. in the County Court of Law 2 in Gregg County. Presiding over the hearing will be Judge Vincent Dulweber.

When the mandate took effect, the district released a statement saying that “wearing a mask is a matter of respecting other people’s well-being and respecting each other’s safety. This is why our priority is the health and safety of our students, employees, and community.”

Other schools in East Texas have received a letter from Paxton threatening a lawsuit if they issue their own mandates. Lawsuits have already been filed against: