HPISD Among School Districts Facing Possible Lawsuits Over Mask Policy

(Note: This story has been updated with comment from Warren Norred, who’s representing Siino in this case)

Highland Park ISD parent Spencer Siino filed a court petition asking for pre-suit depositions from district staff members and school board members about the district’s mask policy.

The school district has required masks since opening for in-person instruction last fall but shared in a letter to parents Tuesday that masks would be optional beginning next school year. 

Siino argued in court documents that the district’s mask policy “resulted in a denial of a proper education of his son.”

Siino is represented by Norred Law in Arlington, court documents show. Norred represents parents from other North Texas school districts in similar actions, WFAA reported.

My expectation is that HP ISD will call this moot now, but I expect that we’ll go forward,” Warren Norred said. “We hope to ensure that HP ISD recognizes what it did wrong in adopting and maintaining an irrational mask policy.”

Siino in a previous press release sent to People Newspapers identified himself as a co-founder of Park Cities Parents Unite, a 501c4 organization established last fall that has called for the district to phase out mask wearing and other COVID-19 restrictions, and, according to the group’s Facebook page and website, has put out mailers decrying “‘woke’ education.” 

HPISD chief of staff and director of communications Jon Dahlander didn’t address the court filing when asked about it, but said about the district’s mask policy that “we have been discussing our plans for next year internally for a while.”

(Read: HPISD: Masks To Be Optional Next School Year)

HPISD trustee Tom Sharpe said during the April school board meeting that the mask requirement helped staff members feel safe returning to campuses this school year, but predicted the 2021-2022 school year would look more like pre-pandemic normal as more staff members get vaccinated and case numbers fall in the district.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

One thought on “HPISD Among School Districts Facing Possible Lawsuits Over Mask Policy

  • May 13, 2021 at 2:05 pm
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    Maybe if Mr Siino’s child had been focused on his studies instead of trying to figure out ways to disrupt the school day by not following rules he might have been able to focus on learning. Another sad waste of our district’s time and energy having to reply to this Privileged Family. HPISD did a fantastic job getting kids in the classroom in person and virtual this year. Every child everywhere in the entire world had some disruption in learning this year. Another Highland Park family acting like they are so mistreated when they have the wealth to supplement anything they might have missed out on.

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