New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

State mask bans face federal civil rights inquiries


The Education Department on Monday opened civil rights investigat­ions into five Republican-led states that have banned or limited mask requiremen­ts in schools, saying the policies could amount to discrimina­tion against students with disabiliti­es or health conditions.

The department’s Office for Civil Rights announced the investigat­ions in letters to education chiefs in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah. Those states have issued varying prohibitio­ns on mask requiremen­ts, which the office says could prevent some students from safely attending school.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona accused the states of “putting politics over the health and education of the students they took an oath to serve.”

“The department will fight to protect every student’s right to access in-person learning safely,” Cardona said in a statement.

It marks a sharp escalation in the Biden administra­tion’s battle with Republican states that say mask-wearing should be a personal choice. President Joe Biden last week asked Cardona to explore possible legal action, prompting the department to examine whether the policies could amount to civil rights violations.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States