A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates in Texas schools violates the rights of students with disabilities, clearing the path for districts in the state to issue their own rules for face coverings, a decision that could affect more than 5 million students.
The ruling comes after months of politicized disputes over measures at the state level opposing mask-wearing policies that had been intended to prevent the spread of Covid.
The lawsuit, which sought to overturn the mandate, was filed on behalf of several families of students with disabilities and the organization Disability Rights Texas.
They stated that the defendants — the state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton; the commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, Mike Morath; and the Texas Education Agency — had put students with disabilities at risk through their complete erasure of mask mandates.