The Amistad Project, in conjunction with Pennsylvania Senate President pro tempore Jake Corman (R-Centre) and State Representative Jesse Topper (R-Bedford), filed a lawsuit against actions by Pennsylvania acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam.
In the lawsuit, the organization is challenging a new statewide school mask mandate, arguing the new restriction violates state law and is a broad overreach of governmental power.
In addition to the state lawmakers, the lawsuit is backed by parents of children with special needs and two private schools.
“This weekend, we filed a complaint against Pennsylvania’s Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam to deny the imposition of draconian, unlawful mask mandates that are harming children across Pennsylvania. We filed this lawsuit on behalf of Calvary Baptist Church, Hillcrest Christian Academy, and ten parents of minor children, including children with special needs,” said Tom King, an attorney representing the group, in an emailed statement.
However, Governor Tom Wolf’s office quickly dismissed the idea of the lawsuit, claiming the challenge to be an “effort at undermining public health.”
Instead, the challengers of the mandate argue that the decision of masking should be left to local school boards or parents, not the state government.
“We are arguing before the Court that Acting Secretary Beam does not have the authority to issue such a mandate under the Disease Prevention and Control Act. Since there is no authority under Pennsylvania law to keep students out of school, Secretary Beam is trampling on the rights of school children and their parents as she denies them the right to attend school in person. This type of regulatory overreach cannot stand in a free country,” King continued.
The state has until September 8 to respond to the lawsuit, and a court hearing is scheduled for September 16.
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