By Kate Klimesh,
A petition has been filed on behalf of the Arc of Iowa and parents of children with disabilities against Gov. Kim Reynolds, Director of the Department of Education Ann Lebo and 10 Iowa School Districts, including Decorah Community School District. DCSD Superintendent Mark Lane told school board members at a special meeting Monday, Sept. 6, that he had been notified of the petition last Friday by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The petition alleges that the legislation passed earlier this year, House File 847 and subsequently Iowa Code 280.31, violates the American with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Iowa Code 280.31 prohibits school districts from adopting, implementing or enforcing a policy that requires face coverings, effectively banning mask mandates in school. Iowa Code 280.31 does not prevent any person in a school, whether student, teacher, staff or visitor, from wearing a mask voluntarily.
The school districts chosen in the petition reflect where the parents’ children would attend school. The Iowa Association of School Boards will be contacted for support of the School Districts named in the litigation.
The School Board unanimously approved joint representation with Ahlers and Cooney, P.C. law firm, representing six other schools named in the litigation, as well as a waiver of their conflict of interest agreement.