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Arizona among states banning mask mandates that could face civil rights probes

Posted at 9:34 AM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 15:51:50-04

PHOENIX — President Joe Biden has ordered his Education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students.

Biden's order takes aim at Republican governors in Florida, Texas and other states that have barred schools from mandating masks in the classroom. Arizona is among the six other states that have most recently received letters from Secretary Miguel Cardona regarding actions taken against mask mandates in schools.

Biden directed the Education Department to “assess all available tools” against those policies. In response, the Education Department raised the possibility of using its civil rights arm to push back.

The agency says state policies could amount to discrimination if they lead to unsafe conditions that prevent students from attending school.