Seven members of the Great Valley School District could be driven from office if irate residents have their way.

The seven are named in a petition in the Chester County Court of Common Pleas last Thursday, filed by a local taxpayer angered over the district’s mandatory mask policy. The district was served Tuesday, said Kerry Puia, the lead plaintiff.

Puia, whose own children are grown, told the Delaware Valley Journal Tuesday that she is striking a blow for freedom. And, she believes, thousands of others share her sentiments.

“I got involved because of the fact that people’s freedoms were being taken away,” said Puia.  Puia noted that the two school board members not named in the recall petition were absent last July when the board voted to impose mask mandates.

“Basically, we started our own petition because of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling, which is cited in the petition, that what the governor and school boards were doing was unconstitutional.”

The school boards “are not listening to parents or taxpayers,” she said. The Paoli resident and others tried to talk with the board before taking this step, but nobody listened to them, she said.

“People are being completely shut out,” she said. “Their voices aren’t being heard…And so it’s gotten to this point.”

The board is “not allowing parents a choice,” she said. And even though the mask mandate is being lifted next week, the district could just as easily re-impose it.

“We’re the voice for thousands of people,” said Puia, who noted that people in some other districts, including West Chester and Downingtown, have also filed petitions to recall school board members.

The petition accuses GVSB members David Barratt, Rachel Gallegos, Wendy Litzke, Jennifer Armstrong, Stephen Dittmann, Samantha Jouin, and Neha Mehta of failing to perform their duties.

“The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled the order to force EUA (emergency use authorization) experimental medical devices to be worn by healthy children (masking) by the Secretary of Health was so illegal, it should have never occurred,” the petition said. “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the PA Commonwealth Court decision on December 10, 2021. The ruling has deemed the forced masking order by the Secretary of Health “void ab initio” and unenforceable.”

The petition further stated, “Municipal government agencies may not create new rules or regulations’ out of whole cloth’, only the Pennsylvania legislature has that authority.

“There is no state of emergency in Pennsylvania allowing for rules to be subverted, and the highest courts in our state ruled, twice, that the Pennsylvania Health Department may not force mask healthy children. ‘The Board’ has failed to follow proper procedure for exception requests to their illegal policies.”

A spokeswoman for the Great Valley School District did not respond to a request for comment.

The court has not set a hearing date for the petition.


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