February 10, 2022

Children’s Health Defense Supports NYC Teachers Heading to Supreme Court Over Religious Exemption to Vaccination

Press Release

For Immediate Release

New York, NY, Feb. 10, 2022 — On February 8, 2022, attorneys representing plaintiffs in Kane v. de Blasio and Keil v. NYC, which allege that the New York City Department of Education (DOE) violated the First Amendment by denying religious exemptions to vaccination, filed an emergency appeal in the Supreme Court of the United States.

The application seeks to save the jobs of more than 700 NYC educators who are slated to be fired for not complying with the city’s vaccination requirement tomorrow. Many plaintiffs in both cases have received notices via email that they will be “terminated” on Friday February 11.

For months, DOE’s effort to fire these same teachers has been thwarted by several restraining orders issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. One of those orders allowed the plaintiffs and, ultimately, hundreds of educators on unpaid leave, to reapply for religious exemption using what DOE claimed was a “new process” which it asserted complied with federal constitutional requirements. However, DOE then granted only one religious exemption and the majority of educators who reapplied, who are not named plaintiffs in these cases, have pending administrative appeals.

Plaintiffs are represented by Sujata Gibson and Mary Holland with Children’s Health Defense as well as the law firm Nelson Madden Black which specializes in litigation defending religious freedom. Most of the plaintiffs in the case come from associations known as Teachers for Choice and Educators for Freedom, two grassroots organizations of educators fighting for their rights and religious freedoms.


Children’s Health Defense is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to end childhood health epidemics by working aggressively to eliminate harmful exposures, hold those responsible accountable, and establish safeguards to prevent future harm. For more information, visit

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