Williamsport, Pa. -- "The decision whether to mask any child in school is best made between the parent and members of the school's administration and not the Governor, law enforcement, or the District Attorney's Office."
This is according to a statement made by Lycoming County District Attorney Ryan Gardner on Friday, a week into the school masking order by the Department of Health.
Gardner said his office has been inundated with telephone calls from concerned parents inquiring about the DA's office's position regarding prosecution parents or school-agee children wearing masks at school.
While the DA won't prosecute, Gardner said his decision not to prosecute for failure to adhere to the mask mandate "does not disrupt the school's ability to render administrative sanctions such as detention, suspension, and/or expulsion." Each school is able to determine its own administrative consequences regarding enforcement.
This desicion is in line with his May 2020 statement that he would not prosecute small businesses or business owners from violating Governor Wolf's re-opening restrictions.
"This decision does not excuse children and parents from maintaining her or his composure when confronted about her or his failure to wear a mask," Garder wrote. Verbal or physical aggression toward the individual requesting masks may trigger law enforcement's involvment. Gardner warns of the potential for disorderly conduct or other applicable criminal offenses should a disagreement go that far.
Gardner called the masking order "a struggle for all parties on countless levels."
DA Gardner's full messages is as follows: