Eanes Independent School District solemnly reports that one of its teachers had her COVID face mask ripped off by an angry parent this week, while another teacher was reportedly yelled at because no one could understand what they were saying behind the face mask. Eanes ISD has defied Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order banning mask mandates in schools and imposed one anyway, angering parents.
Eanes ISD School superintendent Tom Leonard wrote in a letter to parents, “Regrettably, there have been a few sad moments, too. A parent physically assaulted a teacher by ripping a mask off her face, others yelling at a teacher to take off her mask because they could not understand what the teacher was saying while her face was covered. This type of behavior will not be tolerated in Eanes ISD. Our staff are on the front lines of this pandemic; let’s give them some space and grace. Please, I am asking everyone to be kind…do not fight mask wars in our schools.”
Austin Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Elizald, who oversees Eanes ISD, boasted of her decision to impose the mask mandate in defiance of Abbott’s executive order in an article written for TIME magazine on Sunday, later stating in an interview with KXAN, “It’s tough for everyone, it’s tough for our parents, it’s tough for our staff, it’s tough for us superintendents and leaders. Ultimately, it was the local data conditions in our hospitals, and the number of rising cases that put us in a situation where I felt like I had to change course. Keep in mind, the temporary masking is not the only thing we have in place. So this was just necessary, at least during the period of time that we’re in Stage 5.”
In Arizona, State Sens. Wendy Rogers and Kelly Townsend signed a letter calling on Gov. Doug Ducey to punish schools that defy the state’s mask mandate ban:
Arizona State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R), along with 25 other Republican lawmakers including State Sens. Wendy Rogers and Kelly Townsend, signed a statement on Wednesday that calls on Gov. Doug Ducey to punish unlawful behavior by school officials who try to force children to take COVID vaccines and wear masks. The statement notes that such mandates are prohibited by Arizona law.
The statement calls upon Ducey to do four things, including withholding “the federal funding currently under the Governor’s management from any school district that is non-compliant with state law,” and initiating “legal action against any school district that is non-compliant with state law.” The lawmakers also note, “We sincerely appreciate the Governor’s conversations with us over the last few days and hope to see that result in swift action; however, the window to hold the rogue local governments refusing to follow state law accountable is closing and the people of Arizona’s patience is running short.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has suggested withholding the salaries of school officials who impose mask mandates on children.