Monday, August 10, 2020

UFT Group Takes Legal Action to Block Schools From Opening

In my last post, I mentioned the UFT's second largest Caucus; UFT Solidarity and the petition they have have to get schools' chancellor Carranza to resign. While taking a pass on it myself, I did link to it in the event that any reader may want to sign on.  (I'm opposed to it because I feel his equity agenda is just too important. I don't foresee the city having another school leader who is willing to speak so strongly against school segregation and I hope to see him return to that work after this crisis. But the petition has just over 1380 signatures as of this writing and, if you are so inclined, you should consider making your voice heard). 

Today comes news that the group has begun legal action to stop the opening. They will be seeking an injunction to stop the schools from opening on the grounds that the DoE has not been able to make them safe and are seeking teachers to join their legal suit:

A well-known educational lawyer is interested in pursuing legal action necessary to file an injunction against the City to prevent NYC school buildings from reopening in September. Many members are concerned about the working and learning conditions our children will be subjected to and are considering pursuing legal action. This form is to gather the names and information of people interested in the case.

Word has it that Bryan Glass is the "well-known lawyer". You won't find a single attorney with a higher profile -and a better track record for keeping the city's DoE honest- than Bryan Glass. This is an attorney who has challenged them in the city courts, the state courts and the federal courts and has won on every level. If it is true that he has agreed to look into the possibility of filing an injunction, then the group stands a very good chance of having their concerns heard in court. 

This, as well as any court action, is nothing to laugh about.

You sign up to join their legal suit on the Google Form here. The form does ask for information that some have already commented is way too confidential. I understand this. I can say this: I have seen desperate attempts of groups to collect  person's data in the past and understand the discomfort. But I know some of these folks, including where they are coming from, and do not feel this is a reason for anyone not to sign on. 

The court systems in the United States, and in New York, are the most robust anywhere in the world and can provide a powerful check on any government action. The city DoE is prevented by law from taking any action against you in retaliation for joining a complaint. If you do not feel the DoE has made it safe enough for schools to open, this may be your best and most responsible chance to do so. Some teachers prefer to avoid fear mongering wherever they can and aren't the type to attend a rally where they are asked dress up like dead people and bring along a cardboard coffin. Of that group of teachers, some of them prefer to have their grievances resolved before a court of law. If that's you, you should consider signing on to the suit.

  The ICEUFT Blog covered the letter the the group produced


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