Group of Suspended Oklahoma City Public Schools Teachers Files Lawsuit Against District, Superintendent Over Mask Mandate
Beverly Cantrell - September 5, 2021 5:39 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) –
Five Oklahoma City Public Schools teachers are now suing the district and Superintendent Sean McDaniel after being removed from the classroom for not wearing a mask.
“Today it’s the mask issue. Tomorrow who knows what it’ll be” said Ginger Tinney, Professional Oklahoma Educators Executive Director.
The lawsuit comes less than three weeks after OKCPS required face coverings to be worn on all school property. Regardless of vaccination status.
An attorney working for Professional Oklahoma Educators is representing the teachers.
POE’s Ginger Tinney says the lawsuit isn’t just about masks– it’s about whether educators should listen to their employers– or state law.
Referring to Senate Bill 658– which prohibits Oklahoma schools from requiring students and staff to wear a mask.
Tinney says the lawsuit is moving forward, despite Wednesday’s temporary injunction on Senate Bill 658.
“Our members came in and we laid out all the what-ifs and they decided they were following their decision,” Tinney said.
According to the lawsuit, on August 26th, Superintendent Sean McDaniel recommended the teachers be terminated– saying “the basis of my recommendation for your termination is that your repeated refusal to wear a mask constitutes your willful neglect of duty.”
Oklahoma City employment attorney Mark Hammons says the teachers still could be fired.
“The answer is at least potentially they can be. Again, state law would be the biggest impediment to that. Hopefully, they wouldn’t rush to a termination,” Hammon said.
The lawsuit also says the due process termination hearings would be set by the school board at the Sept. 13 board meeting.
On Friday, attorneys for the teachers are asking the court to stop Oklahoma City Public Schools from enforcing their mask policy.
They’re also asking for the teachers to be reinstated.