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Reynolds: Civil rights investigation on mask mandate ban a ‘political fight’ to ‘distract’

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19,...
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he 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 against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon.(Charlie Neibergall | AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 3:14 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Gov. Kim Reynolds released a statement on Monday afternoon, chastising the Biden administration’s plans to launch a civil rights investigation into the state’s ban on mask mandates for schools as “a political fight” driven by a desire “to distract from [Biden’s] own failures.”

The federal Education Department sent letters to Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah, announcing the investigation, saying that the rules against local mask mandates in schools could be considered discriminatory against students with pre-existing health conditions or students with disabilities.

Reynolds said that she stands by the policy, which she said gives the parents what to decide.

“Iowa was able to reopen schools safely and responsibly over a year ago. President Biden and his team know this, yet they’ve decided to pick a political fight with a handful of governors to distract from his own failures - Afghanistan, the border, inflation, and more,” Reynolds said in the statement. “As I’ve said all along, I believe and trust in Iowans to make the best health decisions for themselves and their families. Iowa’s democratically elected legislature endorsed that view as well when they passed a law to support a parent’s right to decide what’s best for their own children. In Iowa, we will continue to support individual liberty over government mandates.”

The Education Department said that it was also seeking to discover whether the mandate ban was a violation of a students’ right to a free, public education, according to the Associated Press.

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