Court motion seeks recall of school principals in West Chester, Downingtown over masking policy – Daily Local
WEST CHESTER—Two women have filed motions in Chester County Court seeking the immediate removal of principals in the Downingtown and West Chester area school districts, claiming they used coercion to force the participation in a masking policy on otherwise healthy students and staff.
The petition was filed Friday in the Chester County Court of Common Pleas by Beth Ann Rosica, a mother from the West Chester Area School District who holds a doctorate in education. Another petition was filed by Shannon Grady, a parent from the Downingtown Area School District.
“Parents across the county have been advocating very strongly with school districts and it has fallen on deaf ears,” Rosica said. “The Chester County Health Department publicly states that it does not provide advice to county districts; yet every district in the county throws the finger back at them stating that they are following their “advice.” County commissioners continue to maintain that masking is a decision of the school district, but their health director regularly meets with superintendents and provides verbal “guidance” that is not available through right-to-know requests. »
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled that the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health does not have the authority to issue the mask mandate for all K-12 schools. After that December decision, many districts in the state moved to an optional mask policy for students and staff. However, in Chester County, only the Oxford Area School District allows optional masking. The remaining 11 districts still require masking.
The level of COVID-19 transmission continues to decline in Chester County. Last week, there were just 827 positive cases, according to Chester County Health Department data. Four weeks ago, there were nearly 5,000 cases. However, the county’s seven-day transmission level is still in the “high” phase, as determined by the Centers for Disease Control.
In the filing, the petition states that principals are causing children “permanent and irreparable harm by reason of their fabrication, intentional simulation or exaggeration or inclusion of any medical symptom or an illness which results in a medical evaluation or treatment potentially harmful to the child and as such the (school principals) must be held accountable.
The petition also states that principals have “created and implemented unlawful policies that violate constitutional rights and, as such, cause irreparable harm.”
Principals from the West Chester and Downingtown school districts were unavailable for comment.
We have been fighting this battle for a year,” Rosica said. “School districts just aren’t responding and not listening, so the only thing left for us to do is call the board members back. “We don’t believe they have the legal authority to (mask children). “Our children have been masked at school for a year and a half. It’s not acceptable. They are not their parents and they cannot make these decisions for our children.
Rosica and Grady are helping parents in other Chester County districts file similar petitions to recall their board members who voted to mask the kids.
“We don’t co-parent with our school district, CCHD, or the state,” Grady said. “These are our children, and we are solely responsible for them and for making medical decisions on their behalf. The time has come for parents to stand up for what is right for their children. We hope we prevail and our children will never be forcibly masked again. »