After Pennsylvanias state of emergency first ended in June 2021, the board opted to continue requiring masks. 3-281 and the Trial Court Order of March 15, 2022. The original petition filed in the West Chester Area School District case. Send him tips at email@example.com, or use his encrypted email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pennsylvania has a 3 year plan to tackle the teacher shortage. Rosica told Broad + Liberty she is bringing the action on her own behalf, and not in conjunction with Back to School PA, a political action committee she works for, which last year promoted school board candidates committed to maintaining as much in-person schooling as possible. A lack of transparency baked into state law makes it impossible to determine whether the program is actually improving outcomes for students who receive tuition assistance. Because weve continued to ask them, plead with them, beg with them, emailing them, calling them, speaking at school board meetings, it all falls on deaf ears and they continue to have masking mandates for our kids that we feel that the only recourse that we have is to have the judge remove those school board members for voting to mask our kids..
She was one of several conservative candidates running on a platform that broadly reflected national debates, including a push to roll back COVID-19 mitigation efforts, get rid of masks, and bar curricula thought to be related to critical race theory. Want a digest of WHYYs programs, events & stories? I dont care what the CDC says, I dont care what the governor says, they dont have the power to dictate what happens in our schools.. In his order that the members of the board be removed from office, Judge William Mahon wrote that his decision came after there was no response to the petition by the school district or its counsel. Tool for implementing CDC's current quarantine and isolation guidance. Taken to its logical conclusion, the Departments bald assertion that we are all contacts would transform emergency disease control measures into enduring, government-mandated fixtures of daily life. Special counsel to the district is in the process of preparing a substantive response on behalf of those school board members named in the petition, Sokolowski said. Either you appreciate that judges are elected officials in this state and that your vote always matters, or you just dont care and like to gripe. The decision states that the removal of the board members named in the petition was a procedural result and does not address any of the allegations made in the complaint. On Wednesday, the court ordered a hearing on the motion at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Chester County Justice Center. With respect to endemic disease, such an approach is susceptible of no limiting principle.. The issue seems to be driven by Decembers state Supreme Court decision ruling that the state Health Departments school mask mandate was unconstitutional. In the school district listing below, "Union Free School District" is abbreviated to UFSD and "Central School District" is abbreviated to CSD. On Monday, the board voted, 8-1, during an impassioned four-hour meeting to keep Gender Queer: A Memoir on school libraries shelves. The strength of Rosicas argument appears to have had little to do with its success, however. In West Chester, the money and the parents choice arguments it supported appears to have had limited effect. Sokolowski concluded by saying that due to the ongoing nature of the situation, he would be not able to provide any additional comment for the time being.
Once the Supreme Court declared that was unconstitutional we implored our school board, we asked and asked and begged and pleaded and made comments to lift the mask mandate, and they refused, Rosica said. So, theres absolutely no authority for these school board members to mask our children, Rosica said. Our hope is that the judge will recognize that and realize that this isnt an argument about science. He eventually called for an officer to escort her out of the meeting as she continued yelling. A publication of Brandywine New Media, LLC, County judge removes 5 from WCASD board over masking policy, On Stage: The Claudettes excited to be back playing live, Commissioners seek to increase historic tourism in the county, New leadership for Chester County Economic Development Councils Ideas x Innovation Network (i2n). The parent petitioner, Beth Ann Rosica, argued that under the Pennsylvania school code, districts have no authority to require all students to wear masks. Each school district, school, and child care/early learning center must determine whether they choose to adapt this to their health and safety protocols and communicate this with their families. As often as the right is upset with judicial discretion so is the left.
Great job ladies!
Privacy concerns in the district had been growing following a February request for data on LGBTQ children in the district. I guess its in-line with the rights refusal to accept the results of free and fair elections. That Right to Know Law request was largely denied by the district. WHYY offers a voice to those not heard, a platform to share everyones stories, a foundation to empower early and lifelong learners and a trusted space for unbiased news. Web-based tool for calculating quarantine and isolation periods. CDCs new COVID-19 Community Levels guidance applies to education settings including K-12 schools, childcare settings and early education centers. The school directors shall have at least five days notice of the granting of the rule. The health and safety plan for WCASD was approved in August, before the Wolf administration issued its statewide school mask mandate and the subsequent Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling. Given the prolific nature of this virus, the manner in which it is transmitted by asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals, and the large number of infected individuals in society, the possibility of exposure to an infected person at any given time is highWe are, therefore, all contacts as defined by the regulation, Beam argued in the departments brief. Please see below for more information: Resources from American Academy of Pediatrics to help schools and parents navigate conversations about vaccines. Why a request for West Chester district data on LGBTQ students spurs privacy worry. When school districts, schools, and child care/early learning centers make updates to their protocols, the Chester County Health Department refers schools and child care/early learning centers to the most recent guidance of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the PA Departments of Health, Education, or Human Services. Rosica is a well-known figure in the world of Pennsylvania school board conflicts, which have mounted in the two years since COVID-19 initially shut down schools. This is a legal issue: either they have the authority to do it, or they dont. All rights reserved. However, in a letter sent out to district parents Tuesday night, Superintendent Robert Sokolowski attempted to downplay any concern that the judge-ordered ousting of the board members would stick. Ahead of school board elections in November 2021, and amid rising tension over parents rights to dictate how schools are run, the West Chester district got national attention when the then-president of the board, a Republican, cut a conservative parents microphone as she spoke about critical race theory. All students must now compete according to their sex assigned at birth, according to the updated policy. 4978 chescotimes.com. Learn how your comment data is processed. Thought-provoking and shareable ideas for Kenny Cooper is WHYYs suburban reporter covering Montgomery and Delaware counties. Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky responded by saying now is not the moment to ditch mask wearing in schools. West Chester, she noted, always left open the possibility of reinstating masking if cases rose again. A Chester County judge moved Tuesday to remove five members of the West Chester Area School District Board of Education on what he termed a procedural issue saying that neither the school board members or school district responded in a timely manner to a petition seeking the removal. Shameful and evil, all of it.
The Health Department will remain a support for school districts, schools, and child care/early learning centers to include providing resources such as those below.
Watch live: Jan. 6 hearing probes Trump actions as Capitol was attacked, Voting rights lawyers say latest GOP mail-voting challenge is 'fueling the big lie', A new Sixers arena in Center City is not a sure shot. Kenneth Roos, an attorney at Wisler Pearlstine LLP, which is representing the board members, told WHYY News Tuesday night that a motion to reconsider would be filed with the court. While we do not have all of the answers at this time, please be assured that the West Chester Area School District and I remain deeply committed to the mission of educating and inspiring the best in our students.. It stood by that decision while the state reimposed a school mask mandate, and for two months after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared that mandate unconstitutional in December. If on such hearing, or if when no answer is filed denying the facts set forth in the petition, the court shall be of the opinion that any duty imposed on the board of school directors, which is by the provisions of this act made mandatory upon them to perform, has not been done or has been neglected by them the court shall have power to remove the board, or such of its number as in its opinion is proper, and appoint for the unexpired terms other qualified persons in their stead, subject to the provisions of this act.. He noted as it pertains to ongoing litigation, he cant make further comment, but promised updates for the community as soon as possible. Both districts have nine-member boards, so if the petitions were successful, they would remove a majority of the members in each district. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY). The court shall grant a rule upon the school directors, returnable in not less than ten or more than twenty days from the date of issue thereof, to show cause why they should not be removed from office. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. In-school testing program offered in partnership between the The PolicyLab at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Chester County Health Department (CCHD).
But for Grady, thats not a reason to call off the quest to oust board members. The petition is based on a little-know provision of Section 318 of Act 14 of 1949 which appears never to have been successfully used to remove a school board member. The parent, Anita Edgarian, later mounted a write-in campaign for school board. Masks also remained an ever-present source of conflict. Despite that ruling, most area school districts continued their masking rules in line with recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) until case numbers dropped in the county. Section 318 of the Pennsylvania School Code, St. Joes drops contract for professor involved in free-speech controversy, Hunter Tower: Anti-CRT uproar shows teachers unions overplayed their hands, Stephen Wahrhaftig: West Chester School Board president crossed the line. Isnt this why school boards are elected by members of the local community? Jan. 6 insurrection committee hearing Watch or listen live, File photo: Parents and students from the Downingtown and West Chester, Pa., School Districts held a roadside protest to demand administrators allow in-person learning for families that want it. He acknowledged that he didnt have all the answers but would remain committed to education throughout the process. So these activist parents want the big government state judiciary to remove local elected officials because they dont go along with the parents political agenda. Sign up for our weekly newsletter. The decision is expected to be appealed today. In 2016, residents in Manheim Township in Lancaster County sought to remove a board member after leaked audio sparked questions as to whether the board member had intentionally violated the states Sunshine Law. Request for comment to Downingtown Area School District was not returned. When they refused, that is when we made the decision to file the petition.. As the winter wave of the Delta variant of Covid-19 appears to have peaked, several states have announced they intend to roll back or abandon their student mask mandates. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court stated that [Department of Health Acting Secretary] Allison Beams order for masks for kids in school was illegal. MLKs daughter, CEO of the King Center, offered advice to students hoping to fight racial and economic inequities, and talked about building coalitions. Superintendent Dr. Bob Sokolowski wrote: Special counsel to the district is in the process of preparing a substantive response on behalf of those school board members named in the petition. By Todd Shepherd. Will keep my fingers crossed for the win! And we believe that they do not have the authority. Court of Common Pleas Judge William P Mahon ordered the removal of Sue Tiernan, Joyce Chester, Kate Shaw, Karen Herrmann and Daryl Durnell, based on a removal petition brought by Beth Ann Rosica in February over the districts mask policy. Permission from the Chester County Health Department on updates to COVID-19 health and safety protocols is not required. Her petition in West Chester isnt an isolated effort. In early December, the Democratic-majority Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously struck down a school mask mandate by then-Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam and Governor Wolfs administration. It will focus on the 187 minutes between when former President Donald Trump's Ellipse speech on Jan. 6 ended and his prerecorded video asking protesters to go home posted to Twitter later that afternoon. Failure of Respondent to comply requires this procedural result.. Disclosure: Beth Ann Rosica has previously authored opinion pieces at Broad + Liberty in the capacity of a Chester County Parent. WHYY thanks our sponsors become a WHYY sponsor, state of emergency first ended in June 2021, Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared that mandate unconstitutional, Privacy concerns in the district had been growing. Judges havent ruled on them yet, but Shannon Grady, a Downingtown parent and the original drafter of the petition language, said she has high hopes. Want a digest of WHYYs programs, events & stories? Together we can reach 100% of WHYYs fiscal year goal. If the facts set forth in the petition, or any material part thereof, is denied, the court shall hear the several parties on such matters as are contained in the petition. That individual survived the challenge, but later did not run for re-election. Your email address will not be published. That ruling hinged in large part on the outcome of constitutional amendments approved at the ballot box in 2021 that stripped Gov. Learn more about Social Responsibility at WHYY. The Jan. 6 committee is holding what is expected to be its hearing.