The Consequences of Banning School Board Mask Mandates

Pictured+is+Governor+Greg+Abbott+of+Texas%2C+one+of+the+two+governors+who+tried+to+issue+a+statewide+ban+on+mask+mandates+in+school+districts.+

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Pictured is Governor Greg Abbott of Texas, one of the two governors who tried to issue a statewide ban on mask mandates in school districts.

The coronavirus has jeopardized the health and safety of individuals around the nation, and the health emergency has now been twisted into a battle between individual freedom against federal government power. 

Debate surrounding the legitimacy of the virus was sparked when the pandemic started, and now after 219 million cases and over 4 and a half million deaths worldwide, people continue refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the virus’s existence. The problem of this refusal becomes a greater problem when people in power come into play.

Not only do  people in power have the ability to influence people’s decisions, but they have the ability to propagate false information. This becomes dangerous when their views time and time again contradict science. Take, for example, the Republican governors Gregg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida and both governors’ attempts to issue bans on mask mandates.

The Florida governor released an official executive order effective on July 30th which stated that the, “Biden Administration issued unscientific and inconsistent recommendations that school-aged children wear masks.” The order continues, demanding that it would be the parents’ decision to choose whether or not their children should wear a mask, not the Florida school boards’. 

These bans infringe upon the rights of those who are high risk to Covid-19, and yes, even those who are vaccinated. The battle against Coronavirus isn’t the individual against the virus, it’s the community against the virus,”

After several lawsuits were filed, the ban was presented to the court. DeSantis is still waiting on an appeal from the Leon County Circuit Judge, John Cooper, after the judge deemed the governor’s ban unlawful under the Parents’ Bill of Rights. As the governor’s office fights for a stay on the order to suspend all further judicial proceedings, Judge Cooper has assessed that the appeal is likely to fail. 

Similarly to Florida, Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order as early as May 18th which prohibited “governmental entities from requiring or mandating mask wearing” effective in schools starting June 4th. The consequence of breaking this order was a fine up to $1,000 for local governments or officials. 

The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) responded with a statement advocating for “local control” on the issue of masks. The document lists frequently asked questions they have received from parents as well as TASB responses. In one question asking whether the school boards considered the order a lawful exercise of the governor’s authority, the boards responded with blatant disapproval and support for those “taking steps to implement health and safety measures.”

While the order went into effect across the state, several lawsuits have been filed within different local courts against the ban. Court cases went as far as the Texas Supreme Court, where the court sided that the ban was lawful, putting the San Antonio school district at risk. It is important to note that while this directly impacts the SA school district, it does not have the same effect in other cities. 

Abbott and local district attorneys are struggling to enforce these mask mandate bans, especially in urban areas. 

These bans infringe upon the rights of those who are high risk to Covid-19, and yes, even those who are vaccinated. The battle against Coronavirus isn’t the individual against the virus, it’s the community against the virus. If cases continue to skyrocket we will continue to have more and more waves.

These orders are not just local to Texas and Florida, as any governor who chooses to argue against science and enforce these bans on mask mandates can do so if they please. Similar to the Abortion Law passed in Texas, the fear that what happens in one state will happen in another is just as overwhelming in this case. 

The quicker we all come to our senses, do our research, and determine that wearing a mask is all worthwhile for the greater good of everyone, is when things can return back to “normal.” To jeopardize the safety and lives of those around us is a horrible, selfish thing that we should not be promoting within our government.