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Exclusive: Andy Biggs Blasts Biden Admin for Weaponizing Education Department

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Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) is blasting Biden Education Department Secretary Miguel Cardona’s decision to weaponize the Department’s Office of Civil Rights to target GOP states’ school masking policies, deeming the decision both “dangerous” and “foolish” and warning that the “inappropriate” process will “not be tolerated.”

The agency announced its investigation Monday, attributing the action to its belief that maskless classrooms could discriminate against children with disabilities, as they are reportedly at a higher risk of contracting the Chinese coronavirus.

Cardona claimed in a statement:

The Department has heard from parents from across the country – particularly parents of students with disabilities and with underlying medical conditions – about how state bans on universal indoor masking are putting their children at risk and preventing them from accessing in-person learning equally.

He added that the department will “fight to protect every student’s right to access in-person learning safely and the rights of local educators to put in place policies that allow all students to return to the classroom full-time in-person safely this fall.”

In a letter addressed to Cardona specifically, Biggs blasted the official’s decision as a grossly “misguided” and “improper use of federal resources.”

A masked student waits before the bell at Enrique S. Camarena Elementary School, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Chula Vista, California. The school is among the first in the state to start the 2021-22 school year with full-day, in-person learning. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

“The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights must not be used as a political weapon to target states that have enacted policies with which the Biden Administration disagrees,” he wrote.

“The Department’s Office of Civil Rights is tasked with the mission of ensuring equal access to education for all students and should not be used to target masking policies that have been enacted at the state and local level,” he continued, noting Cardona’s August 22 appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, where the secretary discussed mask mandates in schools. Cardona stated that the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education was “‘prepared to launch investigations…to ensure that all students have access to the fundamental right of education’ and would target state and local governments that have prohibited school districts from enforcing mask mandates,” Biggs wrote.

“A week after you issued your threat on Meet the Press, the Office of Civil Rights opened investigations into Iowa, South Carolina, Utah, Oklahoma, and Tennessee’s policies barring local school districts from mandating masks,” he continued, deeming the effort “inappropriate.”

From left, then-President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and then-nominee for Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, arrive on stage at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Deleware, December 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Biggs also noted the Biden administration official’s interview with the New York Times, where he said Cardona offered “an absurd interpretation of civil-rights law to support your decision to use the Office of Civil Rights to investigate states that have prohibited mask mandates in schools.”

Biggs continued [emphasis added]:

In the interview, you stated that “I’ve heard those parents saying, ‘Miguel, because of these policies, my child cannot access their school, I would be putting them in harm’s way,’…And to me, that goes against the fundamental beliefs of educators across the country to protect their students and provide a well-rounded education.” To argue that permitting unmasked children in the classroom is a deprivation of access for others, and that specific deprivation of access is a civil rights violation, makes a mockery of legitimate civil rights violations that rightly deserve to be investigated and prosecuted. It cannot be that providing parents with the freedom to choose whether their child wears a mask in school represents a civil rights violation for other students. If this logic was accepted, a universal mask mandate for schools in all 50 states would be necessary. The argument you have advanced is without merit and cannot be used to justify an intrusion by the federal government into state and local decision-making in determining how to return students safely to in-person instruction. State and local governments across the country have worked tirelessly to implement safety measures to return students to in-person instruction this fall.

“Any attempt by the Department of Education or President Biden’s Administration to interfere in this process is inappropriate and will not be tolerated,” Biggs added.

Cosigners include Reps. Scott Perry (R- PA), Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Andy Harris (R-MD), Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Dan Bishop (R-NC), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), David Schweikert (R-AZ), Chip Roy (R-TX), and Paul Gosar (R-AZ).

Students waking in the hallway at Tibbals Elementary School place their arms in front as a reminder to socially distance in Murphy, Texas, Thursday, December 3, 2020. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

In an exclusive statement to Breitbart News, Biggs said Secretary Cardona’s decision “to weaponize the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to target states that have prohibited mask mandates in schools is as dangerous as it is foolish, accusing Cardona of using the office to target states that are “following the science in how they protect our children”:

The purpose of the Office of Civil Rights is to ensure equal access to education, yet Secretary Cardona is determined to use the office to attack states that are following the science in how they protect our children. The Biden administration will stop at nothing to impose its dictatorial agenda on the American people and has reached a new low in denigrating the purpose of the Office of Civil Rights.

“Secretary Cardona’s intent to force states to mandate masks in schools, a consequential policy based on a desire for control, should not be tolerated,” the Arizona Republican added.

Currently, the department is targeting five states — Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.

This content was originally published here.

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