The Ministry of Justice (doJ) has filed a statement of interest in a case involving disabled students in Texas who say the state’s mask ban puts them at risk.
“The serious adverse consequences for students with certain disabilities are easy to oversee. Some parents of children on elevated COVID-19 The risk is likely to keep their children at home, even though the children could go to school safely if mask protocols were put in place,” the department said in the file.
Mask mandates and bans on them have divided parents, schools and school boards all summer blackboard gatherings have spiraled out of control across the country. In addition, 48 million children under the age of 12 are still ineligible for the vaccine and pediatric COVID-19 patients are on the rise.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Association of Children’s Hospitals, more than 200,000 new cases of peratric COVID were reported last week, marking the fifth consecutive week of reported cases.
The DoJ is following the Department of Education (DoE), which plans to investigate any violation of students’ civil rights by enacting mask bans. The DoE said the investigations will focus on disabled students, who are at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and who are prevented from returning to personal learning, in violation of federal law.
Governor of Texas Greg Abbott ordered a ban on masks at school in May, but he also claimed in court that he is not capable of to enforce the ban itself. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) was more than happy to help Abbott and ban school systems from requiring masks.
Texas Disability Rights, an agency for protection and advocacy for disabled teens, has filed a lawsuit against Abbott and the TEA on behalf of 14 students. The lawsuit alleges that Abbott’s executive order banning masks is “substantial risk to students with disabilities, discriminatory and against federal law.” Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act.”
The DoJ states that the ADA provides students with disabilities a “full and equal opportunity to learn alongside their non-disabled peers” and that Abbott’s mask ban infringes on their rights.
“Other parents of children at increased COVID-19 risk – such as parents who are unable to be home during the day – may have no choice but to send their children to school every day, knowing that the health of their children, and even their lives , may be at risk because those in close contact with their children may not be wearing masks and the school can’t do anything about it,” the DOJ said in a statement.
A New York Times report mentions a monthly survey of vaccine attitudes by the Kaiser Family Foundation concludes that 58% of parents say schools should have comprehensive mask requirements. About 35% say there should be no mask mandate and 4% say only unvaccinated employees and students should wear masks.