School Funding

Here are the states where school mask warrant bans have been overturned in court, at least for now


Top line

A federal judge in South Carolina hit the state’s ban on masks warrants Tuesday for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, the latest in a series of nationwide court rulings that have blocked the state’s attempts to prevent school districts to require the wearing of masks, at least temporarily.


U.S. District Judge Mary Gieger Lewis ruled The South Carolina ban was illegal because children with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodation in school under federal law, and “no one can reasonably say that wearing a mask to accommodate a child disabled person constitutes an excessive burden “.

Arkansas was the first state to have its ban on mask warrants revoked in early August, after parents filed a lawsuit against it and even Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he now regrets enacting the ‘ban on mandates for masks in schools.

A judge from Maricopa County ruled Arizona’s mandate ban on school masks – along with a host of other measures the state legislature had passed in its budget schedule – violated the Arizona Constitution because such budget legislation did not should be used only for spending matters.

Oklahoma’s ban on school mask warrants was temporarily suspended in early September until another hearing can take place, although the judge said schools must let parents remove their children from orders of masks if they wish, and the one in Iowa has been temporarily hit in mid-September because of the benefits of wearing a mask and the potential risk for children particularly vulnerable to Covid-19.

The Tennessee executive order against school mask warrants, which required schools to let parents opt out, was temporarily hit On Friday in federal court, a judge ruled that the policy violated the rights of students under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Texas is now enforce its ban on mask orders after initially hanging it while litigation against it unfolded and the Florida school mask mandate ban is at least temporarily back in effect after an appeals court ruled out overturned a judge’s earlier decision to block him, and Montana and Utah also still have policies restricting mask orders in place.

Crucial quote

“It is true that the fundamental right of a parent to decide what is best for their child cannot be ignored. It is also generally true that parents are the ones who know their children best, which is best for their health and their ability to learn, ”Gieger wrote. “But, these same truths also apply to all parents, including parents of children with disabilities, like the minor complainants here.”

What to watch out for

In addition to states that have already made rulings on banning school masks, a lawsuit is also underway in Utah that could result in that state’s policy being rescinded or continued. The US Department of Education has opened civil rights investigations in states where mask bans remain in effect, which could expose them to potential sanctions, including prosecution by the US Department of Justice.

Key context

State-level policies against school mask mandates have become a particular source of contention as a new school year begins amid the wave of delta variants, which has left children ineligible for Covid-19 vaccines particularly vulnerable. In addition to legal challenges, a large number of school districts in most states with mask warrant bans have revolted against state policies by enacting mask warrants anyway, leading some states to threaten to consequences against those who do. Florida withheld funding from the first two school districts in the state that imposed mask requirements and moved forward with sanctions against other districts, although that did not deter districts from maintaining their mandates in force. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey also noted the state will withhold federal funding from school districts that have mask mandates in place, before that state’s mask mandate ban is lifted. The White House has said that districts can use other federal funds allocated to them to offset any funding cuts they may face from their state governments, and the US Department of Education has launched a grant program for schools whose funding was withheld because they imposed Covid -19 mitigation measures.

Further reading

In sweeping ruling, Arizona judge rules budget ban on school mask warrants and other laws unconstitutional (Republic of Arizona)

Federal judge temporarily blocks Iowa ban on mask warrants in schools (Register of Monks)

Oklahoma school mask warrant ban temporarily overturned by judge (Forbes)

Almost all states banning school mask warrants now face lawsuits, as Iowa parent sues (Forbes)

Montana Becomes Latest State To Restrict School Mask Mandates – Here’s The Full List (Forbes)

Court of Appeals reinstates Governor DeSantis’ ban on mask warrants in Florida schools (Forbes)

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