DOE suspends nearly 100 staff over fake vaccine cards


DOE suspends staff | Flickr

Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

The New York City Department of Education suspended up to 100 employees from working in schools without pay indefinitely, following news of an investigation into teachers submitting fake vaccine cards, effective on April 25.

The New York City Police Department and the Special Commissioner of Investigation are looking into the matter of potentially 70 to 100 fraudulent vaccine cards from education department employees.

“Fraudulent vaccination cards are not only illegal, they also undermine the best line of protection our schools have against Covid-19: universal adult vaccination,” DOE spokesperson Nathaniel Styer said. “We immediately moved to put those employees — fewer than 100 — on leave without pay.”

The city requires all municipal employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which is roughly 150,000 workers. This mandate went into effect last fall, resulting in suspensions for any city staff members who were not vaccinated by Sept. 27, 2021.

As a result of this mandate, about 95% of all full-time public-school staff got at least one dose of a vaccine, helping to boost the city’s overall vaccination numbers.

However, it has now come out that a small number of education staff who reported receiving the vaccine could have actually been lying. It is unclear how law enforcement found out about the fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards and more information will not be released until the investigation is over.

These workers were suspended without pay but will continue receiving health benefits.

“I’m really disappointed to learn that there were fake vaccination cards,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said. “Not only is it illegal, it undermines our entire trust. My understanding it is being investigated, and we are going to see the outcome of the investigation.”

In addition, the United Federation of Teachers has recently spoken out against this move, stating that it’s illegal to remove these employees without a full investigation. The union is considering a lawsuit to avenge the removed staff.

“It is wholly improper for the D.O.E. to unilaterally remove U.F.T. members from the payroll based on mere conjecture that vaccination documentation is fraudulent,” UFT lawyer Beth Norton wrote in a letter to the education department.

Teachers have not been the only city workers to rebel against the municipal vaccine mandate. Some employees of the New York City Police Department, New York City Fire Department and New York City Department of Sanitation have also been caught.

All sanitation workers who were found to have faked being vaccinated were suspended without pay, whereas some police officers who gave in fraudulent vaccination records were reassigned to modified duty.