Department of Education Investigates Masking Prohibitions in Five States
In response to school mask bans in several states, the U.S. Department of Education has announced it will be launching investigations into Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah to examine whether their indoor masking prohibitions violate the rights of students with disabilities by heightening their risk of severe illness.
More specifically, the investigations will explore compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which grants students with disabilities protection from discrimination, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which prohibits disability discrimination by public entities.
Despite similar declarations, Florida, Texas, Arkansas, and Arizona will not be investigated currently, as court orders or other actions have kept mask bans in those states from being enforced. The investigations will be conducted by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, which will act as a neutral fact finder as they collect and analyze data collected from states.