GAE sues Gov. Kemp, state officials over school reopening

GAE sues Gov. Kemp, state officials over school reopening
The lawsuit names Gov. Brian Kemp, other state officials and Paulding County officials for what the complaint claims is reckless guidance and actions in opening school buildings during the coronavirus pandemic. (Source: WALB)

ATLANTA (WALB) - The Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) has filed a lawsuit against state officials in Fulton County Superior Court, according to their website.

The lawsuit names Gov. Brian Kemp, other state officials and Paulding County officials for what the complaint claims is reckless guidance and actions in opening school buildings during the coronavirus pandemic.

The suit, filed Wednesday, says the governor’s actions have put the health and safety of Georgia’s 1.8 million public school students at risk in egregious violation of Article VIII of the Georgia Constitution and its mandate that all students receive an “adequate public education.”

“Georgia’s 1.8 million public school students deserve to be safe and healthy in all school settings. They should be in spaces that do not risk their health and by extension, the health of their family and friends,” Lisa Morgan, GAE president, said. “Decisions by some of our leaders have led to classroom and school environments that endanger our children. As an organization of educators, that goes against the very nature of who we are and what we do for our students every day. That is why today GAE, along with other plaintiffs, saw the need to file suit.”

The GAE said, on numerous occasions, has asked Kemp, other state leadership and local school leaders to put the safety of students above everything else in the decisions regarding reopening schools.

“Educators fully understand the preferred option of in-person instruction,” said Morgan. “We want to be in our classrooms interacting with our students and providing them the instructional experiences we know to provide them the best learning opportunities. However, our overriding concern is the welfare and safety of our students. It would be absolutely devastating to the school community to know that one of our students became seriously ill or worse simply because in-person instruction was mandated over virtual.”

The suit comes after instances such as the viral video showing crowded school hallways in Paulding and other counties served to illustrate the disregard for the safety of students and school workers, according to GAE.

The suit asks for the following:

  • Declare the constitutional right to an adequate public school education includes the student’s right to school facilities that meet basic health and safety standards.
  • Declare the local board of education has created a public nuisance through its acts and omissions.
  • Declare that public school districts have a duty to provide a safe work environment for its employees.

Read the full complaint below:

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