Federal judge blocks mask, vaccine mandates for Texas schools' Head Start program

Plaintiffs argued low-income families who rely on the federal program might take their children out of Lubbock schools as a result of the mandates

Updated: January 1, 2022 - 12:16pm

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A federal judge has blocked COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates in Texas' schools Head Start program, a decision that GOP Gov. Greg Abbott is calling a win over "Biden again."

"Texas just beat Biden again," Abbott, a staunch opponent of such mandates, tweeted after the ruling Friday by Judge James "Wesley" Hendrix, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Hendrix, a Trump administration appointee, wrote in the ruling: "The Court concludes that the circumstances do not justify or require a nationwide injunction,” according to KLBK Lubbock.  “The great majority of evidence before the Court is limited to harm caused to Head Start programs in Texas."

However, the judge restricted the order to apply only to Texas. In addition, the ruling is only preliminary, and the lawsuit will continue in federal courts, KLBK noted. 

Attorney General Ken Paxton was by the Lubbock Independent School District in suing the Biden administration earlier this month to temporarily block the mandates for the Head Start program from going into effect nationwide.

The plaintiffs argued that mask and vaccine mandates negatively impact the federal Head Start program, which provides educational assistance to children from low-income families, 

School officials argued that because of the mandate such families might take their children out of the district's schools and staff might be forced to quit, according to The Hill newspaper.