Some Montgomery County teachers fear losing their jobs over mask and vaccine exemptions

Dozens of teachers at Montgomery County public schools say their jobs could be at risk if they don’t get the COVID-19 vaccine and / or wear a mask.

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“They should follow their own policies and abide by the laws of the land which include the Constitution and the Constitution of our state,” said Angela Harders, special education teacher.

Harders explained to FOX 5’s Ayesha Khan on Friday that she was sent home on the first day of school for not wearing a mask.

Harders added that she had previously submitted a doctor’s note and a note for a religious exemption, which she claimed MCPS had on file for almost a year.

Harders said she received an official letter on Monday saying the school system recommended terminating her employment with MCPS, “for insubordination and malpractice.”

“They have a no-discrimination policy and they won’t discriminate against people based on their religion, but that’s exactly what they are doing,” Harders said.

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“They could say that they are not forcing anyone to have the injection and although it may to be true, what they are doing is absolutely coercive. “

Khan also spoke to MCPS high school teacher Brenda Diaz, who explained that she is currently on paid administrative leave after filing a request for a religious exemption to be vaccinated and wear a mask.

” What is the next step ? What is the next step ? This is my question to you (MCPS), ”Diaz said. “Should all students aged 12 and over even be forced to take this vaccine? I will not agree to this. I will not comply so I will put myself in danger to make sure the students are not obliged to take this vaccine, no no. “

Meanwhile, Harders who hired legal counsel said she and dozens of other educators who believe their religious and health exemptions go unrecognized are considering filing a class action lawsuit against MCPS.

“They are faced with this very real choice to either receive this experimental injection or lose my job and it is not fair, it is not fair and I think it is time for us to start carrying this battle. in court, ”Harders said.

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In an emailed statement to Khan, spokesperson for MCPS, Chris Cram wrote:

“While we cannot speak to specific personnel matters – even confirming whether the attached letter is the one sent to Ms. Harders – we can confirm that all MCPS employees and students are required to wear masks while on duty. inside a school or MCPS facility It is also true that all employees should be fully immunized by 29 october unless there is an authorized medical exemption provided by a physician; there are no religious exemptions allowed. If employees have concerns, they are encouraged to speak with both their supervisor and / or the Employee and Retiree Service Center.

Cram also confirmed that no religious exemptions are allowed for the masks.

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