A judge has ruled that a Texas school district where employees are required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will not have to revoke its mandate despite the efforts of the state’s legal team.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was working to obtain a temporary restraining order that would bar the San Antonio Independent School District (ISD) from enforcing the vaccine order, but 45th Civil District Court Judge Marie Lowe Alvarez rejected the motion Friday after a two-hour hearing.
The state’s legal team said it intends to appeal the decision, which will be heard on January 19, 2022.
Alvarez’s decision comes as Pakistan filed a lawsuit against San Antonio ISD on August 16 for a vaccine mandate that required all staff to be fully vaccinated by October 15.
About 90 percent of staff have been vaccinated as of Thursday, according to board president Christina Martinez.
Government Greg Abbott Vaccine passports and mask requirements were initially banned in schools in April.
Immediately after the district’s announcement, it signed a new executive order banning government agencies and businesses that partner with the state, regardless of the need for the COVID 19 vaccine. FDA Approval status
San Antonio was the first ISD Texas school district to order staff vaccinations. Former Superintendent Pedro Martinez, citing the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, justified the order, saying employers could make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory.
The district allowed exemptions for disability or religious reasons. Students and staff must also wear masks at school.
Deputy Attorney General Aaron Ritz said the district is on its own with a mandate and argued that regardless of policy differences, the school district must abide by state law.
“The San Antonio Independent is the only political subdivision in the thousands (executive order) and says, ‘Oh, it says there is no vaccine mandate, we don’t care, enforce the vaccine mandate anyway,'” Reitz said. “No one else made that mistake.”
District attorneys say the state has not sufficiently proven that the vaccine order is beyond the school’s power.
He added that under the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, which empowers the governor in emergencies such as epidemics, Abbott’s executive order has no authority.
District Attorney Steve Chescano said, “We’ve heard the restraining order that AG is hoping to win so he can issue another press release about how proud he is to have defeated this district.” Of. ” “It’s so clear and obvious that it’s happening. I’m sure that at the end of the day, you will see that what the governor is doing is not supported by any law.”
He also argued that the district was protecting its staff and 47,000 students by ordering the vaccine so that they could continue to go to school in private.
Chiscano added, “The school is following the District Science Guidelines, which state that the No. 1 tool in the district’s toolbox to combat epidemics is a vaccine, and that it brings us back to the district’s systematic practice.” Will take. “
Alvarez said the state provided “eloquent, passionate arguments” but did not provide the necessary evidence to grant a temporary restraining order.
Pakistan, who did not appear in court on Friday, released a tweet in support of the state on Wednesday.
The Texas Attorney General tweeted, “For all San Antonio ISD employees who have decided not to take the COVID-19 vaccine: we are fighting for your rights, and we expect the courts to They will stop the illegal mandate of the district. “
This is the second time San Antonio ISD has been sued over its vaccine mandate. The first time was in August, but the case was dismissed once. Pfizer. The second was filed in early September, according to FDA-approved vaccines. San Antonio report