The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced on Tuesday that they would be suing South Carolina over their ban on mask mandates in schools.
Representing parents of children with disabilities and disability rights groups, the lawsuit alleges that the ban disproportionately affects children with underlying comorbidities who are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
The Americans With Disabilities Act prevents public schools from excluding students with disabilities or unnecessarily segregating them from other students.
BREAKING: We’re suing to end South Carolina’s ban on mask requirements in schools, with Disability Rights South Carolina, Able South Carolina, and parents.
Students with disabilities are effectively being excluded from public schools because of this ban.
Courts must intervene.
— ACLU (@ACLU) August 24, 2021
“Prohibiting schools from taking reasonable action to protect the health of their students forces the parents of children with disabilities to make an impossible choice: their child’s education, or their health,” the ACLU said in their announcement of the lawsuit.
“Under federal disability rights laws, public schools cannot exclude, deny access, or segregate students with disabilities from a public school education,” the organization continued. “Banning mask mandates during a global pandemic does just that.”
“Schools are obligated to give ALL students an equal opportunity to benefit from public education. Refusing to follow public health guidelines disproportionately endangers students with health conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID,” the ACLU went on to say. (RELATED: ACLU: Second Amendment Is Inherently Racist)
South Carolina lawmakers included a provision in the state’s budget that was passed back in June banning mask mandates in schools, one of seven red states that have passed such a measure. Republican Gov. Henry McMaster voiced his approval at the time, saying that “closing schools and mandating masks is not the answer. Personal responsibility is.”
“To suggest that bureaucrats in Washington should tell parents that they must force their children to wear a mask in school against the wishes and wisdom of the parent is a drastic error,” McMaster added in a video his office tweeted on Friday. “I believe it is wrong.”