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Williamsville private school suing over mask mandate

Posted at 7:30 PM, Sep 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 19:30:55-04

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — A local school is suing members of Erie County government, the Erie County Health Department and the state regarding the universal mask policy for students.

Attorneys on behalf of Christian Central Academy in Williamsville filed the lawsuit in State Supreme Court Tuesday, arguing the district as a private school should not have to follow the county and state guidance on masks.

"They’ve been told since the beginning of the pandemic it’s 6ft or a mask,” said Attorney Todd Aldinger.

The school says it’s taken extra safety measures to make sure students are safe, including installing CDC recommended state-of-the-art air filtration systems and hiring additional staff and teachers in order to make the classes smaller.

“The point of our policy is to give freedom of choice, so each family can follow their own convictions,” said Michael O’Hara of Christian Central Academy.

O’Hara says the school, being private, was told at the beginning of the summer it would not have to adhere to the Erie County and State guidelines when it comes to masking in the school—instead would be able to make its own policy regarding masks.

The school says it made the policy to have mask wearing be a “parents choice” but now, that guidance has changed.

The school filed a lawsuit against the state and county regarding the back to school mask guidelines. The suit claims the district has spent more than $200,000 on upgrades to safety at the school, even hiring additional teachers to make class sizes smaller.

Aldinger says the school has welcomed many new families this year due to the school’s policy on masks. The lawsuit claims losing these students could cost the district thousands of dollars in missed-tuition.

“It’s not an anti-mask policy, it’s a parent choice policy,” Aldinger said.

We reached out to the county for a statement and were told County Executive Mark Poloncarz does not comment on pending litigation.

He then tweeted the following:

The case heads to court Tuesday.