When Governor Ducey signed the 200-page K-12 education budget it included new policy provisions for schools unrelated to the budget. These provisions included language prohibiting school districts from requiring face coverings and the COVID-19 vaccine for students and staff, and a teacher gag bill that prohibits teachers from discussing “controversial” topics in the classroom.
“Governor Ducey and the GOP legislative leadership are putting our children in harm’s way and our communities at risk,” says AEA President Joe Thomas. “Their actions are reckless and abusive. By tying the hands of our local school board leaders, lawmakers are preventing them from making decisions to keep our students safe.”
These laws are unconstitutional and the lawsuit lays out the coalition’s claims, including the violation of the single subject and title requirements for legislation and equal protection grounds as set forth in the Arizona Constitution.
“We know the majority of parents and our educators support our school leaders doing everything they can to keep our students and staff safe and healthy,” says Thomas. “We’re seeing more and more school districts taking steps to protect their students and communities. But they shouldn’t have to break the law to implement common sense protections for our students. We urge lawmakers to listen to their constituents and make the right decision to ensure our classrooms and campuses are safe so we can keep our students learning in our classrooms.”
AEA and its 20,000 members are committed to our mission of Keeping the Promise of Quality Public Education. At the core of that promise is an unwavering commitment to the health and safety of our students and staff. We will advocate by all means necessary to deliver on that promise so that every student in the state has access to a quality public school. AEA is proud to stand alongside other public education champions in this effort.