The Biden administration could launch investigations into civil rights violations for states banning masks, secretary of education says

Florida is one of the states that has tried to prohibit schools from imposing mandatory masks.
Ron DeSantis, Florida Governor, threatened to withhold funding from schools that use masks.

Miguel Cardona, Education Secretary, stated that states cannot withhold federal funds for schools.

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Miguel Cardona, Education Secretary, said that states that prohibit schools from instating mask mandates may be subject to civil rights violations.

"We are ready to launch investigations with the Office for Civil Rights in order to ensure that every student has access to this fundamental right to education. It's sad that this is what we are discussing now," Cardona said on Sunday to NBC's "Meet the Press."

With the rise in the highly transmissible Delta variant, COVID-19 cases in the country are on the rise. Children are being infected at an even higher rate and are now more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19. According to the Tampa Bay Times, 25% of cases in Florida in the past week were among people under 19. The 23% positive rate for those under 12 was also 23%, while the 25% positive rate for those aged 12-19 was 25%.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order on July 31 that banned school mask mandates. DeSantis threatened earlier this month to withhold salaries from school board members who impose masks in their districts.

Cardona stated that federal funds cannot be denied to schools that have instate mask mandates. Cardona stated that the Broward County and Alachua school districts in Florida must do all they can to ensure their safety.

If the governor doesn't follow the executive order, the state's Board of Education threatened with withholding funds from the districts.

"I spoke with the superintendents from those two communities, and I let them know we are there for them." Cardona stated that they can access the funds promised to them for safe reopening of schools.