(HARRISBURG) – The Senate Education Committee today approved a plan that provides parental control over masking decisions in school according to Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33) and Senator Judy Ward (R-30), who sponsored the bill.
Senate Bill 846 would allow parents or legal guardians of a child to opt the child out of wearing a face covering or mask that has been imposed by the state Secretary of Health or school board. The plan must also state that a child who has been opted-out will not be subject to any harassment or discriminatory treatment.
The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
Senator Mastriano (Watch his remarks):
“Unfortunately, this legislation is especially necessary following a statewide mandate from the Department of Health. It is worth noting that over 90% of school districts rejected mask mandates in their health and safety plans prior to the issuance of the mandate.
“Parents of school age children gather information and do their utmost to make informed decisions that are in the best interest of their child. They know the children’s strengths and weaknesses best and love their kids more than any bureaucrat or elected official does. Often times, parents are the only ones who can notice the day-to-day changes of their child and the effect that all day mask wearing can have on them.
“This legislation will empower parents to make the best decision that considers the personalized needs of their unique child.”
Senator Ward (Watch her remarks):
“Parents throughout our districts have echoed their concerns about the negative impacts of mask-wearing on their children. My office has been overwhelmed with calls and emails from parents so upset with the masking mandate from the Wolf administration and their school districts. Issues such as difficulty breathing, decreased communication among students, learning impairments, and anxiety are common.
“Parents know what their children are going through and can decide whether a mask is necessary for their children’s health and success in school. Passage of this bill will give rights back to the parents and legal guardians to do what they know is best for their children.”