The State’s attempt to ban school districts from requiring mask protection poses serious harm to students with disabilities 

ST. LOUIS – The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri has filed amicus (friend of the court) briefs in 45 lawsuits the State is pursuing against school districts with mask mandates that are simply trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep children in school. The attempt by the State of Missouri, through the Attorney General, to ban school districts from implementing masking requirements poses profound and dangerous conflicts with federal law as it relates to students with disabilities.  

Federal law mandates that school districts accommodate students with disabilities, and this includes the implementation of mask mandates. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act of 1973, public schools cannot exclude students with disabilities, deny them equal access to their education, or segregate them unnecessarily. Moreover, schools are obligated to provide reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures to give students an equal opportunity to benefit from their public education. This may include requiring masking, which reduces the spread of COVID-19 in schools thereby protecting children with disabilities so that they may continue to attend and have the same access to education as their classmates. 

“Schools have a duty to provide access to education in the least restrictive and most integrated environment to all students, without putting their lives at risk or being excluded or discriminated against because of their disabilities,” said Luz María Henríquez, Executive Director of the ACLU of Missouri. 

The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommend that all students, teachers, and staff regardless of vaccination status wear a mask in K-12 schools. Protecting vulnerable children from the ongoing spread of COVID-19 is now of heightened concern because of the rising number of children contracting the highly contagious Delta and Omicron variants.  

“These cases will determine whether students with disabilities are able to equally and fairly participate in public education,” said Tony Rothert, Director of Integrated Advocacy for the ACLU of Missouri. “Universal masking continues to be an important tool school districts can use to let children at heightened risk for COVID attend school in-person. 

“Missouri’s Attorney General is completely ignoring students with disabilities by asking court to prevent schools from ever using an important tool that has kept vulnerable kids from serious risk of illness or even death.” See complete list of schools below.


The ACLU of Missouri preserves and expands the constitutional rights and civil liberties of all Missourians as guaranteed in the Missouri and U.S. Constitutions, with a focus on the Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments. Visit