(The Center Square) – The state of Texas is again suing the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) for requiring that its employees get COVID-19 vaccinations despite an executive order barring such vaccine mandates.
The lawsuit marks the second time Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued the district over its vaccine mandate.
In July, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order saying that government entities can't require individuals to get vaccines that are “under an emergency use authorization.”
SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez sent a letter to the district on Aug. 16, anticipating that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) would soon give full approval to vaccines, adding that the “best path forward as a school district is to require all staff to become vaccinated against COVID-19.” Martinez gave employees an Oct. 15 deadline to get vaccinated.
Paxton responded with a lawsuit a few days later, but the FDA fully approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Aug. 23.
Abbott then issued GA-39, which clarified his previous executive order and said government entities cannot require any vaccines even if approved by the FDA.
Paxton’s second lawsuit, filed last Thursday, alleges the district is still violating the law by requiring first doses of vaccines by Sept. 10, since the superintendent gave an Oct. 15 deadline for vaccination.
“The decision to openly violate state law and devote district resources to defending Superintendent Martinez’s unlawful actions is irresponsible,” Paxton said in a statement on Monday. “But if school districts decide to use their limited funding to try to get away with breaking the law, my office will oppose them and uphold the rule of law in Texas.”
A district spokesperson said in a statement sent to The Center Square: “We cannot comment on pending litigation. However, we know that our safety protocols are in line with what has been mandated at the federal level for certain employers. The vaccines are considered safe, with the FDA granting full approval to one of the vaccines so far.”
“We will continue to lead by example,” the district added. “Our focus remains on providing a healthy, stable environment for our students and staff – they deserve that.”
Paxton has also sued several school districts alleging they've defied an order barring mask mandates.