Texas Standard For September 15, 2021

Mask mandates, mask directives and the nine lawsuits against school districts coming from the Texas Attorney General’s office. We’ll look at the latest. And: There are no easy answers for Foster care in Texas. The state continues facing challenges. Also: The heart-breaking reality of a rising number of young kids who struggle with suicidal thoughts. There’s some help for parents and caregivers. Plus: A new book on Texas politics. The title? “One Star and Bloody Knuckles” should tell you something. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardSeptember 15, 2021 9:30 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Wednesday, September 15, 2021.

Texas vs. Schools on Mask Lawsuits

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing nine more school districts for defying Gov. Greg Abbott’s order prohibiting mask mandates. One district says it isn’t enforcing any mandate, and both the AG and the governor’s office have admitted they cannot enforce the bans themselves. So what is behind these suits, and do they stand a chance? We’ll discuss with Dale Carpenter, constitutional law professor at SMU.

Foster Care Continued Failures

Hundreds of children in Texas’ foster care system continue to sleep in Child Protective Service offices, hotels and makeshift facilities. And the federal judge who has overseen reforms for the past several years now says the state can only blame itself for the chronic neglect of its foster children. Bob Garrett has been following the latest. The Austin bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News joins us today.

Worker Heat Death Series, part 7

Today is the final part of an investigation into Texas workers who have died or became seriously ill from heat on the job. The state is already beginning to experience the effects of climate change, meaning workers are at an even higher risk of suffering from heat illness. Houston Public Media’s Sara Willa Ernst says more can be done.

Nuclear Waste Dump Approval

This week, the federal government gave the green light to a proposed nuclear waste disposal site in far West Texas. The plan’s faced opposition from the start – and the latest move may set the stage for a state vs federal fight. Travis Bubenik has been covering the story for Marfa Public Radio. He returns to the Standard today.

Suicidal Thoughts in Kids and Adolescents

Isolation and instability from the pandemic has been damaging to mental health. While definitive information about the pandemic’s effect on suicide has been hard to come by, few would argue it hasn’t increased the risk factors for suicide, including children. Phillip Balfanz is the president of Texas Society of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. We’ve asked him to join us today to tell us what’s going on and help us find solutions.

“A Single Star and Bloody Knuckles”

Few nonfiction authors chronicle Texas like Bill Minutaglio. His latest book is “A Single Star and Bloody Knuckles: A History Of Politics And Race In Texas.”And in typically ambitious fashion, it conveys 150 years of Texas’s hard-fought political history, decade by decade, through the lens of the state’s famous, infamous and unsung figures. Bill Minutaglio joins us for an extended Q&A today.

Funding For Child Sex Trafficking Survivor

The Victims of Crime Act has long channeled money to people for assistance. An updated version of the law aims to make the program’s funding more secure – but advocates say that will take time, and they need money now. They’re asking the state to step in and direct some American Rescue Act funds earmarked for COVID relief to supoport for survivors of child sex trafficking. That’s part of what Krista Piferrer advocates for with the nonprofit network BCFS Systems, based in San Antonio. She joins us today for more.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.

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