Teachers who won’t heed basic health requirements deserve to be fired

The public school district in Willmar had to put 11 employees on leave when they refused to comply with some simple rules.

The policy gave staff three options:

  1. Provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  2. Wear a mask at work beginning Jan. 10 and submit to weekly COVID-19 testing beginning Feb. 9.
  3. Meet with Human Resources about possible medical or religious exemptions.

They had so many outs! I rather resent the last one — praying does not deter a virus — but they couldn’t even meet those minimal requirements.

The shocking bit, though, is that some of them were teachers.

“There were eleven staff members placed on leave on Tuesday. Some of them were teachers, others were hourly employees,” Superintendent Dr. Jeff Holm wrote in an email to Bring Me The News, noting that the employees placed on leave “opted not to comply with any of the options.”

Holm said that the school board approved the policy to begin Jan. 10 and that employees were give “ample notice” of their three options. Holm added that the district was warned about possible “substantial financial penalties for non-compliant employees.”

It’s been reported elsewhere that one employee refused to leave and was escorted out of the building by a supervisor, but Holm confirmed to BMTN that the employee who was “escorted” out had requested that of their supervisor.

The 11 who have been placed on leave represent a tiny fraction of the district’s estimated 800 employees.

Don’t put these people on leave, fire them. The silver lining here is that this rule has exposed a tiny group of intransigent incompetents who don’t deserve to be employed as educators.

Willmar, by the way, is about an hour’s drive from where I live, and while it’s still rural, it’s not filled with yokels — Ridgewater Community College has a campus there.


  1. davidc1 says

    The lengths some antivaxxers will go to to avoid the jab.
    An Italian nurse was found to be giving people fake vaccines
    so they could say they had had the jab.

  2. mistershelden says

    I’m more worried that they think being vaccinated means you don’t need to wear a mask in an indoor setting. This has never been true, and is spectacularly mistaken with Omicron, where we have seen massive spread among the vaccinated.
    Sure, the unvaxxed are more likely to get it, but the chances are still high for the vaccinated as well, unfortunately.

  3. says

    It seems to me that a teacher is supposed to be more knowledgeable and educated than their student. A teacher needs to be able to think about the right order in which to communicate knowledge, and how to support and integrate that knowledge so that the student can establish its truth (or, if it’s a field that is aesthetic/opinion, to help them know the boundaries between fact and imagination) – it seems to me to be impossible to teach, if one is also so ignorant as to be anti-vaccine. Being anti-vaccine, I would say, implicitly disqualifies one to be a scientist, doctor, or teacher.

  4. Doc Bill says

    Oh, Irony! The right-wing hack columnist, Marc Thiessen, had an op ed this weekend calling for the firing of teachers who REFUSE to return to the classroom in states and districts where mask and vaccination mandates have been lifted. He cited the Chicago teacher’s union as an example. They were apparently ordered back into the classroom in the middle of an Omicron blizzard in which students and staff were dropping like flies. The union balked because mitigation measures were not in place.

    Thiessen’s thesis is “today we hold class, tomorrow we dine in Hell!” But, this is the right-wing authoritarian answer to everything: lock them up, fire them all.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    Marcus Ranum @ # 3: Being anti-vaccine, I would say, implicitly disqualifies one to be a scientist, doctor, or teacher.

    We could imagine a scenario involving a vaccine of some sort which was ineffective and/or dangerous, yet promoted or mandated by a corrupt or deranged regime (none of which applies to the present vaccine situation, though the government still has certain issues…). In such a case, reasonable people might well protest and defy.

    Hell, a few years ago I speculated that the US might experience a military coup – with progressives, me among them, taking to the streets in support of same.