Op/Ed: Parents should be concerned about moves to oust school board members

By Charlotte Valyo, Chair Chester County Democratic Committee

Charlotte Valyo

Every parent in Chester County should be concerned by the latest effort from the far right to take control of local elected offices outside the process of fair and open elections.

The latest example is the petition filed in Judge William P. Mahon’s Court of Common Pleas by 10 residents bent on ousting West Chester School District Board of Education members they could not honestly defeat at the polls.

The petition asked the court to remove members Sue Tiernan, Joyce Chester, Kate Shaw, Karen Hermann and Daryl Durnel because, as the petitioners claim, they violated the Pennsylvania Constitution by requiring masks inside schools. The state Supreme Court had ruled Gov. Tom Wolf’s state-wide mandate unconstitutional by a slim 4-3 margin. However school boards always have had, and still do have, the right to take actions to protect the health and safety of students, teachers and staff.

The West Chester Board voted to follow guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and left masks in place. When CDC loosened those requirement, so did the district.

Originally Judge Mahon ordered the board members removed, much to the delight of the petitioners and their crowd. However they missed the point that Judge Mahon did not rule on the merit of the case, only on an alleged failure by the school board to respond in timely fashion. When it was pointed out the filing deadline was confusing he rescinded that ruling.

The case now will be heard on its merits, which are completely lacking. It should be made very clear that this is yet another attempt by the right, which cannot seem to win elections, to threaten, harass and intimidate people they disagree with to the point those people choose not to run for office. It is up to all who believe in the power of both our elections and our public education system to let them know they are wrong. Very, very wrong.

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