Bill Description: House Bill 734 would allow students over the age of 18 to exempt themselves from mask mandates in school and enable parents to exempt their minor children. It would also prevent students who are exempted from these mandates from being excluded from school activities and programs.
Does the bill allow schools to be more flexible, improve feedback mechanisms, and decentralize decisions to the family or individual level? (+) Conversely, does the bill add to the existing education bureaucracy? (-)
House Bill 734 would permit any student who is over the age of 18 and any parent or guardian of a minor child to “exempt himself or the minor child from any requirement for a student to wear a mask by submitting a signed statement to school officials.” Students would be permitted to opt out for “medical, religious, or personal reasons.”
By permitting adult students and the parents of minor students to opt out of mask mandates in schools, House Bill 734 decentralizes decisions to the family or individual level and reinforces parental authority to direct the care and upbringing of their children.
Does the bill reinforce the idea of equal treatment under the law, merit, individual responsibility, personal agency, and expectations of academic excellence? (+) Conversely, does the bill allow for any type of discrimination against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group for any purpose on the basis of race, sex, color, economic class, ethnicity, national origin, geographic area, legacy status, or other identity group? (-)
House Bill 734 would prevent schools or school personnel from “limit[ing] the participation or mak[ing] additional requirements of” an exempted student in any school activity or program because of that student’s exemption. In doing so, House Bill 734 reinforces the idea that students should be treated equally under law, regardless of their decision whether to wear a mask.
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