5 parents suing Katy ISD over district's mask mandate

Shelley Childers Image
Friday, April 2, 2021
EMBED <>More Videos

The parents said the COVID-19 risk to children is small and the district's mandate actually harms children, according to the lawsuit.

KATY, Texas (KTRK) -- After Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the state's COVID-19 restrictions, including the mask mandate, some school districts decided to follow Abbott and end theirs as well. But others districts, like Katy ISD, still kept their existing policies.

SEE ALSO: List of Houston-area school districts requiring masks after Texas' mandate lifts

Now, five Katy ISD parents are suing the district for $100,000 over requiring students to wear a face covering, claiming it harms the children.

"Almost 70 years later, it appears that defendant Katy ISD Superintendent Kenneth Gregorski has forgotten the lessons of Brown v Board of Education, by implementing a policy that fails to make education available to all on equal terms," the lawsuit reads. "This lawsuit seeks to protect children from irrational and unconstitutional policy that provides false sense of security, but has the actual effect of harming children."

With over 85,000 students, Katy ISD decided it would keep its COVID-19 policies until the end of the school year. According to the lawsuit, the district wrote that students who refused to wear face coverings would be moved to the Katy Virtual Academy for the remainder of the grading period. In addition, students who did not wear masks will also not be allowed to participate in other student activities.

In the lawsuit, the parents said the district's rules were "shocking when one considers that the best currently available medical evidence indicates that children have not and continue to not play a role in the spread of COVID-19." They add that there is no documented case in which a teacher contracted the virus from a student.

The parents claim the mask mandate does not prevent the spread of COVID-19 and violates parental authority to determine their minor child's medical treatment.

"States with mandates in place produced an average of 10 more reported infections per 100,000 people per day than states without mandates," the lawsuit states. "Such wearing of a device interferes with the parents' rights to choose the medical decision and treatment for their minor children in violation of the Texas Family Code and the Texas Constitution."

Apart from the $100,000, the parents are also requesting a permanent injunction enjoining Katy ISD from enforcing and implementing its mitigation plan as it relates to the mandatory mask use, an award of cost and attorney fees and all other relief that the court may deem just proper and equitable.

Katy ISD sent the following statement regarding the lawsuit:

"Katy ISD continues to follow the governor's Executive Order GA-34 and comply with the Texas Education Agency's Public Health Planning Guidance."

Follow Shelley Childers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.