August 18, 2021 (updated August 19th)
Cited article by Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Erica L. Green, The New York Times
The Biden administration has directed the Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel Cardona, to pursue legal action to prevent schools from banning mask mandates. Specifically, Dr. Cardona stated that he will utilize the Civil Rights Enforcement branch of the Education Department to respond to states attempting to block universal mask mandates.
Students are entitled to a free public education under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits several types of discrimination. For instance, families of students with disabilities who require in-class and hands-on education may be hesitant to send their children to school should mask mandates not be present. Additionally, political threats to defund schools instituting mask mandates could restrict the access to free public education.
HRRC supports the right to education and reminds readers that the right to education is also included in Article 26 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Bans to mask mandates place children at risk and may keep those with existing health concerns from attending school altogether.