WARREN, Pa. – A group composed mainly of Warren County School District parents gathered at Beaty Park on Wednesday evening to protest the recently announced Pennsylvania indoor mask mandate for schools.
The mandate, announced by Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday calls for all students and staff in grades K-12 schools, public and private, to wear masks.
The gathering was a bit last impromptu, according to event organizer Bridget Schwab, but was still well-attended.
“I’m here as a resident and somebody who cares about our freedoms and cares about our children above all,” Schwab said. “I really just want to support the school board in hopefully making the right decision. I know they have a tough job to do.”
The school board announced that they will have an emergency meeting on Thursday, Sept. 2 “to discuss and take action on the Health and Safety Plan regarding the recent mask mandate from the PA Dept. of Health, and any other items that may come before the Board.”
“I feel like it’s important that we be heard and we be seen,” Schwab continued. “The more unified we are, the more of a force we can be and the louder we can be. For the most part, I think we are the majority. I don’t think that we were able to see that we were the majority last year.
“At the end of the day, this is merely for the choice for our children. I hope that this empowers them to stand up for themselves as well. I know a lot of people are angry and frustrated.”
At Monday’s meeting, the school board passed a motion, brought up by board member Arthur Stewart, to issue ‘warnings only’ for students who don’t comply with the federal mandate that masks be worn on school transportation.
The motion passed by a 5-3 vote.
“Art Stewart had the guts to stand up for us,” Schwab said. “I personally will allow my children to get two warnings a day if that’s necessary and be there to support them every step of the way.”
Wolf indicated that it will be up to the individual school districts to enforce the mandate.
“The school districts will be in charge of making sure students come to school in masks,” he said.