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U.S. Education Department launches investigation into Florida policy allowing parents to opt kids out of masks at school

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The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights is launching a probe into the requirement in Florida that schools must permit parents to opt their children out of wearing face masks.

Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Suzanne Goldberg alerted Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran about the investigation in a letter dated Sept. 10.

“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,” Goldberg wrote in the letter.

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“Specifically, OCR will examine whether, in light of Florida’s policy requiring public schools and school districts to allow parents to opt their children out of a mask mandate, the Florida Department of Education may be preventing school districts in the state from considering or meeting the individual educational needs of students with disabilities or otherwise enabling discrimination based on disability in violation of Section 504 and Title II,” the letter states.

“In this investigation, particular attention will be given to whether the Florida Department of Education may be preventing schools from making individualized assessments about mask use so that students with disabilities can attend school and participate in school activities in person, consistent with their right to receive a free appropriate public education and to be free from discrimination based on their disability,” the letter reads.

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Part of an emergency rule from the Florida Department of Education states that schools must permit parents to opt students out of using a face covering. The emergency rule conforms to an executive order issued by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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“Bring it. Florida and @GovRonDeSantis will continue to stand up for parents’ rights against federal government overreach,” DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw tweeted regarding the U.S. Education Department’s probe.

“So you dont have a civil right to breathe but a civil right to make sure other people cant,” The Blaze’s Daniel Horowitz tweeted.

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