LOS ANGELES—A former Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) teacher said Dec. 20 he was forced to resign due to pain related to a COVID-19 vaccine shot and a lack of accommodation by the district.
A group of LAUSD teachers rallied outside district headquarters downtown in support of teacher Casey Corcoran, who submitted his resignation Sept. 24.
“I’m not an anti-vaxxer, I’m not a pro-vaxxer,” Corcoran told reporters. “I did what I had to do to keep my position.”
Corcoran said he was vaccinated at a district-sponsored site March 9 and suffered side effects two days later that his personal doctor attributed to the vaccine, including muscle twitching that turned into intense pain.
He was rear-ended in a car accident in 2012 and said the vaccine-related pain has now affected his whiplash injuries.
“I now have 24/7 pain throughout my chest, my arms, down to my fingers. It spread to some other injuries I received earlier in 2012,” said Corcoran, who described his pain as “sharp, dull, lightning, burning, numbness, tingling.”
The district told him he had to get a second vaccination in order to return to the classroom and refused to honor his doctor’s note asking for an exemption, Corcoran claims. Officials offered him a remote position “with no reasonable accommodation” before ultimately rescinding that offer, according to the teacher.
Corcoran, who taught for the district for 27 years, turned 55 in September and resigned Sept. 24, one day before he would have been eligible for full retirement benefits.
He has filed a disability claim against the county, and his retirements benefits have been put on hold, he said.
Corcoran’s attorney said the district’s mandate requiring employees to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15 or face separation “violates our rights as Americans, as well as violates international laws.”
The LAUSD did not comment on Corcoran’s individual circumstances but confirmed that 496 employees have lost their jobs due to non-compliance with the vaccine mandate.
Nearly 99 percent of LAUSD employees chose to be vaccinated to continue working, the district said in a statement issued earlier this month.
“We care deeply about all of our employees,” Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly said in early December. “Parting ways with individuals who choose not to be vaccinated is an extremely difficult, but necessary decision to ensure the safety of all in our school communities. We wish everyone the best in their future endeavors and encourage everyone to get vaccinated.”