This past Friday, East New York Community Leaders, parents and students of I.S. 292 held a rally in front of the school. The community leaders expressed their outrage over the abrupt firing of all nine (9) Good Shepherd after school Staff. After refusal to take the vaccination and submitting medical/religious exemptions Good Shepherd has terminated the employment of these staff members. The rally was held to demand that they be rehired. The staffers were informed that Friday was going to be their last day.
East New York community activist, Chris Banks, who was one of the leaders of the rally, stated, “the abrupt firing of nine After school staff members by Good Shepherd Services from I.S. 292 is a grave injustice. To fire these dedicated staff members who have been essential workers during the Pandemic is a clear slap in the face to the East New York Community.”
“If the staff members were willing to be tested weekly as a form of mitigation to prevent spreading the virus or contracting it then that should be enough to keep them employed”, stated PTA President Latesha M. Summers.
Banks added, “to have these hard working folks have to choose between employment or getting vaccinated is not a real choice. The Mayor’s mandate goes against their constitutional rights.”
Jose Rivera, who is an employee of Good Shepherd Services, added, “I am the Community School Director at JHS 292. My organization (Good Shepherd Services) following Mayor’s draconian mandate terminated 9 staff members from JHS 292, leaving programs without staff.”
After the rally Banks informed East New York News that he received a call informing him that the staffers received temporary reinstatement until the courts make a determination on the Mayor’s mandate as it pertains to medical and religious exemptions.
Good Shepherd Services provided the following official statement, “Good Shepherd Services is taking every necessary step to ensure that we are in compliance with all local public health guidelines, and we continue to prioritize the health and safety of all students and staff. New York City is requiring all staff working in programs funded by the Department of Education and the Department of Youth and Community Development to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This includes Good Shepherd staff working in I.S. 292 and other public schools and after school programs across the city. Since learning of the mandate, Good Shepherd Services has supported employees as they navigate making the decision that is best for them and their families, including sharing open positions within the organization where the City allows for a COVID-19 testing option as an alternative to vaccination. Compliance with this new mandate will unfortunately cause a brief and temporary pause in our programming at I.S. 292, and we are working together with school leadership to support families with finding alternative options. Now that a federal panel has overturned the temporary injunction on the vaccination mandate, the City announced that unvaccinated staff would only be reinstated and offered a COVID-19 testing option for the week of September 27. We expect the mandate to be in full effect starting next Monday, October 4.”
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