29,000 educators sign to file a motion to intervene in Sangamon County lawsuit to protect the health and safety of students and employees

SPRING FIELD – Today, unions representing teachers and support staff in 52 Illinois school districts will file a motion to intervene in a Sangamon County lawsuit in an effort to protect the safety of workplaces as well as the health and lives of students and employees by keeping the governor’s pupil tenure mask in place.

In October, attorney Tom DeVore filed a lawsuit against 145 school districts across the state on behalf of parents and their children at a cost of $ 5,000 per district, plus filing fees. These cases were all consolidated into one in Sangamon County before Circuit Judge Raylene Grischow.

The lawsuit calls for students not to be required to wear masks or to be excluded from campus, and that students not to be excluded from campus if they were in “close contact” with someone who is HIV-positive, without the local health department does weigh on every individual case.

Today’s court cases were filed on behalf of 75 IEA-affiliated locals, which represent more than 29,000 members of the Illinois Education Association who serve more than 214,000 students. Each of these locals made the independent decision to intervene in the lawsuit.

“Almost all of our members are vaccinated or comply with the vaccination or test order. We all wear masks. We want students to wear their masks and stay home if they were in close contact with someone with COVID. We believe in the safety of staff, students, all families, our staff and students, and all of our communities, ”said Andrew Frey, President of the Triad Education Association. “Things have been going well for a while, but here we are again. It is a global pandemic. We are not safe in Illinois just because we want to turn our heads. So we won’t. And we will work to keep our schools safe.

A status hearing is set in the case for next week. If the judge granted the IEA locals’ motion, they could participate in this hearing and future legal proceedings.

“We have always said that our goal is to keep students and staff in buildings for as long as it is safe,” said Kathi Griffin, IEA president. “Our locals respectfully ask the court to respect the wishes of educators who have asked their local to intervene on their behalf, to ensure that we can continue teaching in person in a safe and healthy environment. We believe that the governor has worked hard to provide a safe educational environment for students and that districts have followed his decrees because they are guided by science and focus on the safety of our students and staff. This is the best we can ask for under these circumstances.

As of December 9, nearly 1.9 million Illinois have tested positive for COVID-19, of which nearly 400,000 are under the age of 20. There have been 30,000 confirmed or probable deaths from COVID. At least four Illinois public school workers died from COVID in the 2019-20 school year, at least eight in the 2020-21 school, and at least one this school year. Currently, there are 163 active “youth epidemics” in the state. Between June and August of this year, the Delta variant resulted in a five-fold increase in child hospitalizations, and between July 3 and October 30, the rate of cases among those under 20 increased from 17 per 100,000. at 142 per 100,000.

As of December 9, all 102 counties in Illinois were coded red for high transmission on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s community transmission map – the most critical rating.


With 135,000 members, the Illinois Education Association (IEA) is the largest union in Illinois. The IEA represents PreK-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and educational support staff, higher education faculty and support staff, retired education staff and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.

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