FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Parents in at least three North Texas school districts filed court petitions this week connected to mask policies that remain in place for students, even as mandates have been removed from the rest of the state.
The petitions from parents in the Fort Worth, Highland Park and Keller school districts are asking for pre-suit depositions of district staff, in an attempt to discover if mask policies were developed or enforced in a way that violated any laws including the Open Meetings Act.READ MORE: North Texas Law Enforcement Disappointed In Gov. Abbott's Veto Of Domestic Violence Education Bill
It could lead to lawsuits, claiming the policies “resulted in a denial of a proper education and unequal treatment” for children, according to the filings.
Arlington attorney Warren Norred, who is representing the parents, said similar efforts in two more districts are close. He has also filed for a temporary restraining order and injunction in Jayton-Girard ISD in West Texas, where the suit claims the mask policy was developed by a secret committee.
“People are seeing other school districts be more reasonable, and they’re saying why can’t we be reasonable too?” he said in an interview Friday.READ MORE: Dallas County DA Reverses Plans To Seek Death Penalty For Alleged Serial Killer Billy Chemirmir
The reluctance of some districts to amend strict policies even as the state reopens, he explained, was prompting parents to act now, especially as many districts are still deciding on policies for next year.
Jennifer Treger, the petitioner on the action against Fort Worth ISD, said she attempted to obtain mask exemptions this spring for her two children in elementary school before looking into legal action. She said she is not the only one pushing for parents to have a choice for their children.
“There are tons of families who are supportive of it, whether financially, or quietly,” she said. “A lot of them don’t want to say their names just because its uncomfortable.”
Fort Worth surveyed families last month about their expectations for school in the fall, including whether they would like to see students continue to wear masks. The district has not announced any policy changes yet.MORE NEWS: 'New Personnel & Procedures, Insufficient Oversight' Led To Texas Execution Without Media Present
A district spokesman did not immediately respond to questions Friday about policy decisions or the court filing.