Judge grants temporary restraining order against CPS for 6 teachers who sued over vaccine mandate

In a temporary restraining order, Judge Raylene Grischow ruled CPS can’t take any action against the teacher’s employment for not complying with the district’s vaccination or testing requirement.

SHARE Judge grants temporary restraining order against CPS for 6 teachers who sued over vaccine mandate

Rich Hein/Sun-Times

A downstate judge Friday issued a temporary restraining order that blocks Chicago Public Schools from taking employment action against six teachers who have refused to comply with the district’s vaccination or testing policies. 

The district began mandating vaccines for teachers and district employees in August and added a testing option for unvaccinated staff in October. Two of the teachers weren’t in compliance with the testing policies and were “warned by CPS that they may be placed on unpaid administrative leave if they do not comply with the policy,” according to court documents.

The six teachers suing the district are represented by attorney Tom DeVore, who’s also running for Illinois’ attorney general. DeVore said an additional 13 teachers have joined the lawsuit.

“My clients are emotionally exhausted, they’re absolutely exhausted that their livelihood is being threatened because they don’t want to be subjected to vaccination or testing,” DeVore said Saturday.

CPS plans to appeal the decision, which was made by Sangamon County Circuit Judge Raylene Grischow.

“The district disagrees with the court’s decision and will continue to fight against this lawsuit and the TRO, as we believe our current health and safety protocols are in the best interest of our students, staff and school communities,” CPS said in a statement.

In February, the same judge ordered a temporary restraining order that prevented dozens of school districts across the state from requiring students to wear masks in classrooms.

DeVore said the most recent ruling has “broader implications than just the school district.”

“It falls in line with the same thing with all of our state employees, or public employees, firefighters, police officers, Department of Corrections officers,” DeVore said. “They’re all having all this tremendous pressure put on them politically, to try to force them to vaccinate or test, and again, these people have rights under the law and they should be protected.”

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