Clearfield County DA will not prosecute for mask violations in schools

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CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – Clearfield County District Attorney Ryan P. Sayers offered clarification on Wednesday on the Order “Directing Face Coverings in School Entities” put in place by Governor Tom Wolf and the Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Sayers said his office will not criminally prosecute anyone for masking violations in schools across the county.

Over the past few days, Sayers said he has received numerous phone calls, emails, and social media messages from law enforcement, school personnel, and parents who are concerned about the impact of this Order.

Sayers’ statement is only intended to apply to the potential for criminal prosecutions based on the Pennsylvania Disease Control and Prevention Act and pertinent Pennsylvania Administrative Code sections as it relates to the Governor’s new mask mandate in all schools of this Commonwealth. This does not in any way refer to violations of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, and any harassment, threats, or violence directed to others for any reason will continue to be fully prosecuted by the Office of the District Attorney.

“We’re talking about criminal prosecution,” Sayers said. “We’re not talking about anything else. The schools, school boards, and the administrators have complete authority on what to do inside their schools.”

The governor’s statewide mask mandate has been met by backlash from many parents and students across the commonwealth who have protested the mandate and refused to wear masks in school.

“I agree with my fellow District Attorneys across the Commonwealth and am directing that this new mask mandate not be enforced via criminal citations in Clearfield County,” said Sayers. “However, it is worth noting that my directive only applies to criminal liability and does NOT extend to or affect any civil or administrative actions that may be authorized by the Governor’s Order, specifically sanctions by school officials. The authority of the District Attorney is limited to criminal enforcement of the Commonwealth’s laws, and does not have the right to interfere with the decisions of school boards and school administrators.”

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