Disability rights group files federal lawsuit challenging Gov. Abbott’s mask mandate ban

A disability rights group wants a federal judge to block Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates.

Disability Rights Texas claims in a lawsuit the ban prevents students with disabilities from safely returning to school.

"Students with disabilities need in-person schooling more than other student groups but they must be able to receive instruction and services safely. Many of these students have underlying health conditions and are at high risk for illness and even death due to COVID-19," the group said in a news release.

The group represents 14 students with disabilities or chronic diseases.

One of those students is an 8-year-old from San Antonio who lives with ADHD, a growth hormone deficiency and moderate to severe asthma. Her mother fears she could end up hospitalized or worse if she were to catch COVID-19.

"Under Gov. Abbott’s order, parents of these children face an untenable choice: educate their children at school and expose them to potential severe illness, long COVID, and even death or keep their children home, where they will receive a fraction of their education in one of the least integrated settings available with limited to no exposure to non-disabled peers," said Tom Melsheimer, an attorney for Disability Rights Texas. "Either outcome is a violation of students’ rights under the ADA and Section 504, and both are wholly avoidable."

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath is also named in the lawsuit filed in an Austin federal court.

So for there has been no response from the governor or the Texas Education Agency.


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