Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – “The order prohibiting in-person instruction blatantly disregards the religious freedoms guaranteed by federal and state law, rendering it invalid,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a letter to Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, warning against a control order issued jointly by Judge Treviño and the county’s health authority that specifically dictates how religious private schools may operate.
The order, which attempts to prohibit in-person instruction at religious private schools until September 28, 2020, violates the United States and Texas Constitutions and the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“There are robust constitutional and statutory protections unique to religious individuals and communities, specifically including religious private schools. Religious private schools may determine for themselves when to reopen free from any government mandate or interference,” said Paxton.
If Cameron County proceeds with enforcing the unlawful order against religious private schools, it may expose the county to liability in litigation.
Paxton had previously issued guidance to religious private schools that want to open safely for in-person instruction, and guidance to local governments on the limits of their authority over public and private schools.
Read a copy of the letter here.