In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the day-to-day challenges facing autistic people and their families. Those challenges get far more intense during disasters. And coronavirus is proving to be the biggest disaster of all.
Parents of 15 children filed a federal lawsuit Friday challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates in schools, which they said violates federal law and endangers students with disabilities by putting them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.
The children represented in the lawsuit, including several from Orange and Volusia counties, have been diagnosed with conditions that could compromise their immune systems, such as autism, severe asthma and Down syndrome.
Restricting public school districts from making mask use mandatory while offering “no viable alternatives for students with disabilities” violates federal laws protecting people with disabilities, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Southern District of Florida.
“The Governor’s most recent executive order preventing school districts from putting protections in place for students ... has tied the hands of school districts from acting and made it impossible for school districts to provide students with disabilities a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment,” the complaint said.