Court Rules 15 NYC Teachers Can Reapply for Vaccine Religious Exemption

By Enrico Trigoso
Enrico Trigoso
Enrico Trigoso
Enrico Trigoso is an Epoch Times reporter focusing on the NYC area.
December 9, 2021 Updated: December 9, 2021

Fifteen New York City educators are celebrating a rare victory—a preliminary relief granted by the 2nd Circuit that will allow their reapplication for a religious exemption from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate.

They first asked the district court for emergency relief on Oct. 4, the day the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccination mandate took effect.

The relief was denied by the Southern District Federal Court. They then appealed the denial and made an emergency application for an injunction pending their appeal.

A motions panel at the 2nd Circuit heard the appeal and gave them the interim relief, which keeps the parties in a position sufficient to finish the entire case.

“In the religious exemption interviews, the NYC DOE [Department of Education] frequently argued that teachers should be denied accommodation because their beliefs conflict with Pope Francis. They even said this to one of my clients who is a Buddhist and another who is a nondenominational Christian,” lead attorney Sujata Gibson told The Epoch Times.

The lawsuit, Kane vs. De Blasio, was filed by attorney Sujata Gibson.

The lead plaintiff, Michael Kane, is a DOE teacher and founder of Teachers For Choice. He has been preparing for the case since mandatory COVID testing was to take effect in August 2020.

Kane told The Epoch Times that he was raised in a Christian household and also has Buddhist beliefs.

“That’s what my religious exemption was based upon. And that’s why they said: ‘Well, the pope says you should get it and the Dalai Lama is vaccinated. Therefore, Mr. Kane should be vaccinated.’ That’s what they said. The city’s attorney said to my face. I laughed when he said it, actually,” Kane said.

“This is the arrogance of New York City that they think: ‘We’re in New York City. We do what we want. You don’t like it, sue us.'”

Kane and the other 14 teachers aren’t working at the school yet and will reapply for their religious exemption.

Gibson and her team filed for class action in order to have more teachers have the ability to reapply for a religious exemption, but the District Court has blocked it.

Kane and Gibson are going to appeal the block since it involves many other teachers who want to avoid the vaccination.

“That’s given in the Constitution,” Kane said, referring to the District Court’s blocking the class action suit. “We have the right to amend our complaint to be a class action. But the courts are playing games, and they’re stopping us from doing it. There’s only so long they can do that. But this is what gets so frustrating—to watch the courts be more about gamesmanship than to be about what’s right what’s just and defending the Constitution. That’s very disheartening for me as an American and as an educator.”

The educators and their attorneys are “committed to helping” other people reapply for religious exemption.

Enrico Trigoso
Enrico Trigoso is an Epoch Times reporter focusing on the NYC area.