On Sunday, the Department of Education (DOE) Secretary, Miguel Cardona, stated that he is preparing “to launch investigations” into conservative states that have banned mask mandates in school.
According to Cardona, the DOE is presently preparing “to launch investigations with our Office for Civil Rights to ensure that all students have access to this fundamental right of education.”
Cardona also added that “it’s sad” that such an issue has to be discussed now, in a clear insult to conservative states. Furthermore, he also bragged about the collaboration between the DOE and the Office of Civil Rights.
“We’re gonna use our Office for Civil Rights to investigate any claims that come forward to make sure that students’ rights are kept,” Cardona brayed on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Cardona also began making waves about possible investigations in statements to The New York Times, when he informed the publication that the DOE’s civil rights enforcement branch is likely to commence investigations of states with anti-mask mandate policies.
The most obvious targets include Tennessee, Texas, and Florida, amongst other conservative states that have barred educational institutes from reinstating mask mandates. The states justify this stance by saying the decision on masks should rest with the parents, not with the government.
Ron DeSantis, the GOP Governor of Florida, also made an announcement regarding the pay of superintendents and school board members, should these individuals opt to disregard DeSantis’s anti-mask mandate and impose mask mandates regardless.
Furthermore, the Florida Department of Education also stated that it would rescind funding to districts that defy DeSantis.
Throughout his NBC interview, Cardona rambled on about Joe Biden’s assurances that school districts that lose state funding as a result of imposing mask mandates will be reimbursed by the federal government.
Let me be clear: We will do everything we can to support local school districts in safely reopening schools. American Rescue Plan funds can be used to backfill the salaries of the brave Florida school board members, superintendents, and other educators keeping our children safe. https://t.co/sDoZHm3MMH
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 20, 2021
Cardona also reaffirmed his support for school districts that impose mask mandates in a statement from the previous week, claiming that it has been “made clear to district leaders” that any financial penalties they incur from the state will be reimbursed via various means from the federal government, including the America Rescue Plan package.
These incendiary remarks emerge as students start returning to in-person classes in the fall while the delta variant sparks across the nation.