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The New York City Department of Education (DOE) accused around 70 teachers last week of submitting fake COVID-19 vaccine cards, but a teachers union says the accusations are unfounded.
The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) told PIX11 News on Friday that teachers accused of showing fake vaccine cards will be placed on unpaid leave. UFT said the DOE doesn’t have the evidence to make such a move.
“It is wholly improper for the DOE to unilaterally remove UFT members from the payroll based on mere conjecture that vaccination documentation is fraudulent,” UFT said in a letter to the DOE.
New York City required its public school teachers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of last September. “About 148,000 school employees — and contractors who work in schools — will have to get at least a first dose by Sept. 27, according to an announcement from Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city health and education departments,” Pix reported at the time.
Teachers faced losing their jobs if they did not comply with the mandate or receive an exemption. Last Tuesday, the dozens of teachers accused of submitting fake vaccine cards were told they would by placed on unpaid leave starting Monday.
“Fraudulent vaccination cards are not only illegal, they also undermine the best line of protection our schools have against COVID-19 – universal adult vaccination. We immediately moved to put these employees – fewer than 100 – on leave without pay,” a DOE spokesman said, according to PIX11 News.
The teachers union told the DOE to rescind its accusations and is prepared to legally challenge the DOE’s action.
New York has been in the spotlight of vaccination controversy in recent weeks. The vaccine mandate for professional athletes and performers was lifted in the city in late March while the mandate for public workers remained in place.
Unvaccinated Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving has criticized the double standard set by New York’s vaccine mandate, as The Daily Wire’s Joe Morgan reported. Irving recently voiced support for Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) worker Tramell Thompson, who is standing against the mandate.
“He’s leading a community of essential workers and people who are unvaccinated or had a belief that they want to continue to live their lives against the mandate and it’s unfortunate to see that people are getting fired,” Irving told The Daily News of Thompson. “Tramell has done a great job of community together and keeping everybody strong and believing this will change. It’s not an easy job so I commend him for doing what he’s doing. But I definitely support the effort to take care of our essential workers and take care of those who have been affected by this mandate.”