For Immediate Release
January 12, 2022
GAE Lawsuit Seeks Fair Administration of Childcare Policy During Remote Learning
ATLANTA -- Fulton County Schools superintendent Mike Looney recently retaliated against GAE members defending their rights by publicly blaming them for the elimination of the childcare option of bringing school aged children on school grounds during remote learning. Superintendent Looney has intentionally put the spotlight on the specific educators who bravely stepped forward to challenge the illegal practice by filing a federal lawsuit.
With the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, and Fulton County Schools return to remote learning, the school district sent a notice to all employees that bringing a child to the workplace would not be a possible childcare option for teachers. Teachers faced with the reality of leaving their school aged children at home unattended questioned why the District changed its position from last fall, and in a public statement to another FCS educator, Superintendent Looney stated, “We are currently defending the district in a lawsuit relating to my decision to allow employees to bring their children to school the last time. The truth is that we simply can’t allow it.”
Craig Goodmark, who along with Jonathan Zimring represents the educators, disagrees. “That is simply an untrue statement. Fulton County could have done many other things besides pulling the plug on this important childcare program. For one, they could have accepted our offer to sign a fair waiver. Blaming teachers that are defending their rights for the elimination of this program is scapegoating, and we simply will not stand for it.” Mr. Zimring explained, “There are many answers to protecting children and teachers in the time of Covid. None of these is Fulton County’s approach of stripping teachers and children of their protections from being sexually assaulted and harassed, or racially targeted, or excluded from school due to disability.”
“Some of us have no other choice, and without this childcare option, we are going to either lose pay or our jobs. Asking a teacher to waive their rights so they can come to work is simply unfair,” said GAE member Kristin Nicholas, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit is pending in federal district court as the school district has moved to dismiss the case. A decision is expected before the end of the school year.
Read the lawsuit here: Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-03688-MLB.