A Few Corrections
We greatly appreciate the NY POST coverage of our protest in front of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) headquarters at 52 Broadway on June 12, 2021. However there were a few errors in their reporting we would like to correct:
The NY POST reported TfC founder Michael Kane as saying the following: “Our official position is that people should be able to make their own choices regarding masks and vaccines. We have teachers who don’t want to be vaccinated and the UFT is trying to force them.”
Correction #1 – While the UFT is enthusiastically promoting vacciantion of teachers, currently they are NOT trying to force vaccinate teachers. On February 4, 2021, UFT President Michael Mulgrew stated that getting vaccianted is an educator’s choice. We have in the past thanked Mr. Mulgrew for making this statement and greatly support it. We believe he made this statement as a direct response to our activism, petitioning and pressure on the UFT, and we hope this remains the UFT’s position in perpetuity.
What the UFT is forcing on teachers and students is in-school COVID testing. TEACHERS FOR CHOICE is sponsoring a lawsuit challenging forced in-school COVID testing called BUENO vs NYC DOE. That case is currently in front of New York State Supreme Court Justice Lynn R Kotler and we await her decision. You can download all of the legal briefs filed with the court in that case HERE.
Correction #2 – TEACHERS FOR CHOICE’s official position on wearing masks in schools is that all pre-K, K and 1st graders should be unmasked RIGHT NOW! Read why we feel that way HERE.
However, in terms of 2nd grade students on up to adults in schools we believe there needs to continue to be a robust conversation and debate around when masking is no longer needed. Determining when unmasking in schools should occur needs to be a local decision for each school district to make on their own, not a top-down state-wide mandate from Cuomo that may not be appropriate for every district. 11-year-old Jenna Miller, who spoke at our protest and asked for all mask wearing to become optional, goes to Cahill Elementery School in Ulster County where the 7-day COVID death rate is ZERO. Does it really make sense to force masks on kids in Ulster right now?
We understand there are people in New York City with compromised immune systems and various conditions that are scared to send their children out into the public in fear of bringing SARS CoV-2 into their home. We are very sensitive to this concern and want to bring confidnece and security back into the idea of sending children to in-person learning. While we question if masking is the best way to do this, we are NOT currently calling for ALL in-school mask mandates to be cancelled. We have provided a platform for some who are calling for that (such as 11-year-old Jenna Miller) however as an organization TEACHERS FOR CHOICE is not calling for this at this time. As we continue to review the current science our position may change going forward, as we certainly do not believe masks should be worn in school by anyone forever. At some point, compulsary mask wearing needs to stop in all schools, but as an organization we are not comfortable demanding a universal end just yet.
CLARIFICATION – Not everyone at the protest on June 12th was a member of TEACHERS FOR CHOICE. Many people at the event made their own decisions of what to write on their signs and put on their bodies in order to convey various political messages. TEACHERS FOR CHOICE does not support every slogan, every sign or every political message that was projected during and around the protest.