Over 80 NYC school staff had fake vaccine cards: DOE lawsuit

At least 82 New York City school staffers submitted fake proof of COVID-19 vaccination, the Department of Education claimed in court papers filed as part of a lawsuit to keep the employees suspended without pay.

The staffers were notified on April 19 that they would be placed on unpaid leave April 25 “based on information that the DOE had received from an independent law-enforcement agency that their proof of COVID-19 vaccination was fraudulent,” according to the Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit filed late Tuesday.

The workers, including teachers, were also told to respond to the DOE email if they didn’t believe the allegations were true.

The United Federation of Teachers has said some of its members reached out to the DOE to say they received the notice as a mistake, and asked an arbitrator to get involved.

The arbitrator found on June 27 that the DOE had violated the staffers’ “due-process protection” and told the department and the union to meet Tuesday and try to come to an agreement over the issue, the filing says.

Municipal employees protest against then-Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate on October 25, 2021.
Lev Radin/Sipa USA

Now, the DOE is asking a judge to find that the arbitrator didn’t have the authority to intervene in the matter.

If the arbitrator’s decision isn’t overturned, it “will undermine the DOE’s ability to ensure compliance with the DOE vaccine mandate and thereby jeopardize the health and safety of students and their families, DOE staff, and the broader community,” the suit alleges.

The DOE is asking for an emergency and permanent injunction from the court.

A public school teacher holds a sign demanding increased COVID-19 safety measures during a rally on January 10, 2022.
A public school teacher holds a sign demanding increased COVID-19 safety measures during a rally on January 10, 2022.
Scott Heins/Getty Images
A New York City public school teacher holds a sign at a rally demanding increased COVID-19 safety measures and a remote learning option on January 10, 2022 in New York City.
Schools Chancellor David Banks has not commented on the dilemma.
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Demonstrators including New York City public school teachers and school staff attend a rally demanding increased COVID-19 safety measures and a remote learning option on January 10, 2022 in New York City.
The United Federation of Teachers said the Department of Education misidentified its members for not being vaccinated.
Scott Heins/Getty Images

The DOE and the UFT didn’t immediately return requests for comment.