Earlier this year, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker mandated all teachers and school staff get vaccinated. But Kadence Koen, who teaches math at a high school in Springfield School District 186, vocally opposed the move but later confirmed to the district that she’s fully vaccinated, according to local media.
In October, the Springfield school board voted to place Koen on unpaid leave for not complying with the mandate.
Koen posted her vaccination card on her Facebook page over the past weekend, according to local media reports. The card shows that she received both doses of a vaccine in June and July.
“I didn’t want to have to produce a vaccination card because I don’t think that’s legal or appropriate, but if you ask me to choose between my personal beliefs and my students, my students will win,” Koen told the State Journal-Register.
The teacher added that her reluctance to inform the district was “always about liberties and freedoms and medical autonomy” and said she was disappointed in not having the matter settled in court.
Several months ago, in September, officials at Southeast High School placed Koen on leave in defiance of the mandate. At the time, Koen said she would refuse to show her vaccine card or agree to be regularly tested for COVID-19 because, according to her, it violates the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act along with her civil rights.
“I’m a big fan of liberties and freedom in the country and personal rights,” she said in September after she was placed on leave. “When my employer attempted to overstep my personal rights—my body, my choice—I came to the decision I had to stand up to this.”
A spokeswoman for the school district told local media that it cannot discuss any personnel-related issues. The Epoch Times has contacted the district for comment.
“Whether people agree or disagree with my methods or agree or disagree with my stance, I’m glad people are talking. I’m glad people are no longer just accepting things as this is the way it has to be,” Koen said, adding that her stance on vaccines “created conversation in the community. I am glad it’s getting people to think.”
Franklin Middle School music teacher Kingsley Keys, who also teaches in Springfield School District 186, is also on leave without pay over the vaccine mandate, he confirmed earlier this year.
“This forced compliance as a condition of employment stands in stark contrast to the very impetus for informed consent and legislated medical autonomy, rights replete throughout federal and state statute, legislated to counter overreach,” Keys said, the State-Journal Register reported.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.