Parents in a Georgia school district have filed a complaint with the Department of Education over their schools’ policy allowing students to opt out of wearing a mask, even asmount across the district. In a complaint filed with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, a Dalton Public Schools parent who’s also an attorney representing other parents in the district requested an investigation into the Dalton Public Schools’ “mismanagement and dereliction of duties to protect the health of all students.”
The currentare required in school buildings, but parents can “opt out” of making their children wear them without providing any reason. A simple form to opt-out is available online and does not require parents to justify why the student won’t wear a . “The blanket opt-out… is both irresponsible and detrimental to the students actively protecting their the complaint, a copy of which was provided to HuffPost.
In the first three weeks since school started Aug. 9, there have been more than 200among students and dozens more among staff across the district — with issues mounting weekly. The of education did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment. “More students and staff will become infected and suffer if action is not taken,” the complaint says. Many Georgia reportedly have a mask-optional policy. With more than 7,600 and staff, the Dalton public school district is 70% Latinx and 20% white. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Latinx people have been , being about three times as likely to be hospitalized with the virus as white people and twice as likely to die.
The Biden administration’s Education Department announced Monday that it was investigating five Republican-led states that have barred schools from requiring masks — Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah — saying universal mask bans could amount to discrimination againstor health conditions. The Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights would not comment on specific complaints. Still, a spokesperson noted that the office evaluates any complaints filed and would open investigations into possible discrimination “where appropriate.”
The CDC’s school guidance, teachers, and staff in K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. As the highly contagious spreads, cases have risen dramatically across the country in recent months. Georgia currently sees an average of more than 9,000 points in early July. Meanwhile, Georgia ranks among the bottom six states by vaccination rate, with only 41% of its population . “Please act; please do something now, today, this , and without delay to protect the health of our students,” the complaint says. Calling all HuffPost superfans! Sign up for membership to and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter.