The Arc of Iowa v. Reynolds

State: Iowa

Filed: 2021

Court: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa

Plaintiffs: The Arc of Iowa and parents of students with disabilities

Defendant: Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa Department of Education, individual school districts

Counsel: The Arc, ACLU, ACLU of Iowa, Disability Rights Iowa, Arnold & Porter Law Firm, Tom Duff Law Firm

Overview: In the final days of the 2021 legislative session, the Iowa General Assembly passed HF 847, which prohibits school districts in Iowa from requiring everyone to wear masks in their schools. As the school year begins and COVID cases soar, school districts face a dilemma: whether to comply with HF 847 or whether to meet their obligations under federal disability rights laws by protecting the health, safety, and dignity of their students with disabilities and providing equal access to their education. Parents of children with disabilities that put them at risk of severe illness should they contract COVID also face a dilemma: whether to send their children to school at risk to their health and even lives or whether to keep them at home at the expense of their education and
development. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act provide broad protections for individuals with disabilities. Both federal disability rights laws prohibit outright exclusion, denial of equal access, or unnecessary segregation of students with disabilities in public education.

Status: The court granted a temporary restraining order on September 13, 2021.

Case Documents

Complaint

Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction

Order Granting Temporary Restraining Order

Related Media

Press Release: Lawsuit Challenges Iowa Law Banning Schools from Requiring Masks

Press Release: Federal Court Blocks Iowa’s Law Banning Masking Requirements in Schools

Associated Press: Parents of disabled kids sue over Iowa ban on mask mandates

Des Moines Register: Parents of students with disabilities sue over Iowa’s COVID mask mandate ban in schools

KCRG: Parents of students with disabilities, ACLU sue Iowa over mask mandate ban law

We Are Iowa: ‘Not an equal education’: Parents of kids with disabilities sue over Iowa ban on mask mandates

Iowa Capital Dispatch: Lawsuit: Iowa’s school mask mandate ban violates disability rights

Business Insider: Iowa ban on mask mandates at schools overturned by federal judge

WQAD8: Davenport Education Association praises federal judge’s order to allow Iowa schools to mandate masks

Des Moines Register: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds asks judge to reinstate mask mandate ban, citing concerns from parents