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Parents of eight New York City schoolchildren and Children’s Health Defense (CHD) Wednesday sued the Department of Education (DOE), Mayor de Blasio, and other NYC officials to reopen schools and halt coerced in-school COVID-19 testing. Since Nov. 19, children in grades 6-12 have been completely excluded from all in-school education. NYC has provided no specific date by which these students will be back in school.
Since early December, K-5 and special needs students may attend “blended learning,” usually just 1-2 days per week, but only if they submit to in-school polymerase chain reaction (PCR) genetic testing for COVID-19. If parents refuse, the DOE relegates their kids to remote learning for at least the next 10 months.
NYC schools were open to all students for blended learning September through mid-November, even though all families had the option of remote learning. Mayor de Blasio shut schools down again because of a rise in the city-wide PCR positivity rate. As plaintiffs’ experts declare, PCR testing does not diagnose COVID infection, even though NYC has represented to parents that it does. PCR testing generates many false-positive results, leading to disruptive and expensive isolation and quarantine.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that in-school testing without voluntary consent is “unethical and illegal.” Coercing parents to sign consent forms on threat of exclusion is not voluntary. DOE is acting in flagrant disregard of federal public health guidance.
Remote learning disproportionately harms those who can’t afford access to modern technology, including high-speed internet, computers, tablets, printers, scanners, and more. Most students in NYC are Black and Hispanic; many parents are wary to submit their kids to medical procedures without their oversight. They wonder what really happens with their children’s test results and DNA samples.
“My child’s school is not his doctor,” said lead plaintiff Adriana Aviles, Queens mother of an excluded child. “Why can’t I take my child to get this test and submit the results, just like I do for other health records? I took my child’s negative results to school, but they accused us of trespassing. That is an outrage.”
Lead attorney James Mermigis said, “This case is big news. No faulty PCR results, no basis for school lockdowns.”
Attorney Ray L. Flores, II added, “If no lockdowns, then no justification for vaccine mandates that NYS legislators are already proposing.”
A Manhattan federal district court likely will hold a hearing in early January.