According to Centner Academy, a private Florida school, its staff and teachers are forbidden from getting any of the COVID vaccines: vaccines that have been proven to save lives. The penalty for getting the vaccine or lying about it? Termination. This wacky and dangerous rule that puts many teachers and staff lives at risk surely can't be legal, can it?
This article takes a look at the debate between the legalities of this controversial rule and why a school would put its educators at such a risk.
Vaccinated? You're fired!
COVID VaccinePhoto by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Centner Academy in Miami, Florida has received a lot of heat regarding a recent rule: they will not employ anyone who has had a COVID-19 vaccine, and their staff is not allowed to get COVID-19 vaccines. If vaccinated, the staff risks their job. That's right, they can be fired.
The school sent a letter home to parents with their decision to make sure their staff was vaccine-free due to wild claims like reproductive issues in women who were even within a few feet of a vaccinated person. These "concerns," along with concerns over the "experimental nature" of the vaccine, have led them towards their decisions.
Is it Legal?
JusticePhoto by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash
Apparently, yes, since the school is private, they are able to fire employees for nearly any reason. Florida is a right-to-work state.
“This is a private school. It’s not a public school. So, generally, a private employer in Florida can fire someone for any reason or no reason at all,” said laywer, Carter Sox.
So, it may technically be legal but that doesn't make it right. The school has received a ton of backlash on its decision from medical professionals across the state, which includes many people commenting on how horrifying and tragic the situation is for the teachers and staff who work at Centner Academy. One such person is the FIU disease expert, Dr. Aileen Marty.
Dr. Marty had a lot to say about it, but one of her most impactful statements was this:
“Here we have one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal to protect ourselves and prevent this problem and they are discouraging the use of it. It’s tragic,” said FIU disease expert, Dr. Aileen Marty.
Despite the FDA's approval of the vaccine under emergency use and the CDC's guidelines and statements about how the vaccines are generally safe (and not only safe but a needed weapon to combat COVID-19 as a whole), Centner Academy is currently standing firm in its anti-vax position.
EducationPhoto by Element5 Digital on Unsplash
The teachers and staff, as well as other local schools and teachers' unions, are working to convince Centner Academy to allow their educators to get vaccinated without fear of losing their jobs. Since they are a private school, they can technically fire teachers and staff more freely than public schools. The same protections are sadly not offered to those who work there.
Although their anti-vax rule is technically legal, according to Carter Sox, the real question is...should it be?