PETERS TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) – A judge in Washington County just ruled over a complaint filed over the mask mandate in Peters Township schools.
The judge denied the temporary injunction requested by parents who are against the mandate. Therefore, the decision by the school board requiring masks for everyone in all district buildings stands.READ MORE: Report: Attorneys For Christian Bey Want Certain Evidence Suppressed In Criminal Trial
HAPPENING NOW: @PetersTwp parents and their attorneys are preparing to meet with a judge for a hearing inside the @PAWashingtonCo courthouse regarding masking in the district. Their attorneys are arguing whether or not a district has the authority to mandate mask wearing. pic.twitter.com/T6yBRjSb98
— Amy Wadas (@AmyWadas) August 27, 2021
There’s a lot of frustration from all sides after the decision. The main issue at hand is that attorneys representing both parents and the school district say they would like more support from the state Health Department.
“I understand the school districts in the state are caught between a rock and a hard place,” said Bullister.
Bullister has two kids in the district. She’s one of the more than 100 names on a temporary injunction filed this week asking the district to stop the mask mandate.
“There will be no better advocate for your child than their own parents. That’s all everybody is trying to do,” said Bullister.
Inside the courtroom, attorney Michael Hammond, who’s representing the parents in this case, argued that districts don’t have the authority to make a universal masking mandate, saying that it’s up to the state Health Department to do that.READ MORE: Butler Transit Authority Stops Local Service Due To Driver Shortage
“It’s very unfortunate circumstances where the agency in our view that’s tasked with the responsibility is passing the buck and saying we’re not going to make this decision. We’re only going to recommend it,” said Hammond.
Meanwhile, the district says they do have that power.
“The district has broad authority to regulate the management of school affairs and regulate student conduct, including student responsibilities and the health of students in schools,” said Peters Township School District Solicitor Jocelyn Kramer.
Kramer says she’s pleased with the judge’s decision to deny the temporary injunction, but she agrees with Hammond on one thing.
“We really would like more support from the Department of Health,” said Kramer. “It’s unfortunate school districts across the commonwealth are being put in this position.”
It’s an even tougher position for parents like Bullister.
“I’ve not lost faith in the people but I’ve lost faith in the system and that’s the most disappointing part of it,” she said.
The solicitor for the district says keeping the mask mandate is the best way to keep kids in school. Meanwhile, the attorney for the parents in this case feel the district should allow for exemptions to masking.Federal Judge Dismisses Some Of The Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Against Ohio State And Dr. Richard Strauss
According to the Wolf administration, just 59 out of 474 school district plans submitted to the Education Department at the end of July were mandating masks for the school year.