Judge denies Florida’s motion to dismiss educators’ lawsuit

Trial begins Aug. 19

The battle to stop Florida brick-and-mortar schools from physically reopening is going to trial after a judge denied the state’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Florida’s largest teachers union.

On Thursday, lawsuits filed by the Florida Education Association, the Orange County teachers union and a parent were combined. The unions are seeking a temporary injunction “to stop the reopening of schools until it is safe to do so” due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The state had motioned to dismiss the lawsuit; however, on Friday morning a judge denied the motion to dismiss.

“This case has never happened in the history of Florida, so it’s unclear in terms of which witnesses we’re going to call, but currently, we have the Governor under subpoena, we have Commissioner Corcoran under subpoena, we have Theresa Jacobs under subpoena,” said attorney, Jacob Stuart.

Stuart and attorney, Billy Wieland are representing the plaintiff in a lawsuit that was filed against Gov. Ron DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the Florida Department of Education and others.

Both Stuart and Wieland represent the three OCPS teachers and the parent who are part of the lawsuit.

Stuart said the lawsuit was filed in response to Corcoran’s Emergency Order calling for brick-and-mortar schools to reopen five days a week in August.

He said they are asking for Orange County Public Schools to have the right to make a decision for students and teachers regarding when it’s safe for them to return to schools in-person/

Stuart and Wieland said one of the teachers they represent has a pre-existing condition and applied to teach from home, but that teacher was denied the option, and instead asked to work in a school.

The attorney arguing on behalf of DeSantis and Corcoran said, the Emergency Order does not require any teacher to do anything. He said that’s left up to the districts.

The judge concluded Friday’s hearing and announced the trial will begin on Aug. 19 at 8:30 a.m.

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