The following article by Katie Balevic appeared January 8, 2022 on insider.com.
A group of parents is suing the Chicago Teachers Union after a stand-off over Covid-19 safety measures led to canceled classes.
The teachers union voted last week to refuse to teach in person until additional safety measures to combat the Covid-19 surge are implemented. While teachers intended to teach virtually, several said they were locked out of their accounts, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who has advocated for classes to return in person, called the action an “unlawful, unilateral strike”. Classes were canceled on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday over the deadlock.
A group of parents represented by the Liberty Justice Center filed a lawsuit against the CTU on Thursday, demanding teachers call off the “illegal strike” and return to in-person teaching.
“CTU’s resolution calling members to not show up for work in-person is a strike regardless of what CTU calls it and violates both the collective bargaining agreement with CPS and Illinois law,” Jeffrey Schwab, a senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center, said in a press release.
“CTU cannot unilaterally decide what actions should be taken to keep public schools safe, completely silencing parents’ input about what is best for the health, safety, and well-being of their children,” Schwab added.
Laurel Golden, a Chicago Public Schools parent and the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, said in the press release that kids “need and deserve to be in school.”
“Throughout this entire pandemic, our kids have paid a tremendous price for adults’ mistakes and miscalculations, and now the teachers’ union has hastily and recklessly put them on their political roller coaster again,” Golden said.
A spokesperson for the CTU did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
School closures could continue into next week if an agreement is not reached, WGN9 reported.