Education Department opens civil rights probe into Florida mask mandate ban


September 14, 2021

The Department of Education has opened a civil rights investigation into whether Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) executive order banning mask mandates violates the rights of students with disabilities.

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) said in a Friday letter addressed to Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran that it was “opening a directed investigation” into whether the statewide ban on mask requirements in schools “may be preventing school districts in the state from considering or meeting the needs of students with disabilities.”

“OCR’s investigation will focus on whether, in light of this policy, students with disabilities who are at heightened risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are prevented from safely returning to in-person education, in violation of Federal law,” Suzanne Goldberg, the Education Department’s acting assistant secretary for civil rights, added in the letter.


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