A Pennsylvania judge has ordered the removal of five school board members in the West Chester area, following a resident petition opposing the members’ support of COVID-19 mask requirements.

Judge William Mahon, of Chester County, on Tuesday said five members – Sue Tiernan, Joyce Chester, Kate Shaw, Karen Herrmann and Daryl Durnell – were removed after failing to respond to the petition, which was filed in February. 

The petition was filed by a West Chester parent who heads the Back to School PA political action committee, which is backed by a donor in Bucks County who also is funding school board races across the state. 

An attorney for the school board members says he will be filing a petition to reconsider.

Similar petitions are pending in several other Chester County school districts.

“I did not believe they had the legal authority to mask our children,” said Beth Ann Rosica, the parent at the head of the petition said. “I want to ensure they will never be forcibly masked again.”

Rosica also said the West Chester school district’s health-and-safety plan suggests that a return to masking could occur if COVID-19 transmission rates increase.

The petition refers to masks as “unapproved medical devices” and argues that by providing masks to children without informed consent, board members have executed “medical battery” against children. It also classifies some of the board’s policies under the definitions “suffocating” and “child abuse.”

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