A Christian school in Texas plans to hold in-person classes with social distancing measures despite a county-wide ban on in-person public and private school classes to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
Laguna Madre Christian Academy in Port Isabel, a K-12 school, intends to resist an order enacted by officials in Cameron County, with the stated plan to reopen on Aug. 31 for in-person instruction.
Jeremy Dys of the First Liberty Institute, a legal nonprofit that represents the academy, sent a letter on Tuesday to Cameron County Chief Legal Counsel Juan Gonzalez about the matter.
“LMCA certainly appreciates the delicate situation presented by COVID-19,” wrote Dys. “Nonetheless, we must insist that Cameron County respect the laws and fundamental freedoms of this state and nation.”
Dys cited guidance issued by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in July stating that private schools are exempted from orders closing in-person public school instruction.
“We need not restate General Paxton’s legal analysis, nor the copious citations he made to cases from the Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of Texas that outline a fundamental principle that cannot be neglected, even in the face of a worldwide pandemic,” continued Dys.
“… private, religious institutions retain the freedom to determine when it is safe to resume in-person meetings or instruction, not the State of Texas, nor Cameron County. Cameron County’s order must yield.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski