Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the nation’s second-largest school district, fired 496 employees on Tuesday for not complying with the district’s coronavirus vaccine mandate.
“Parting ways with individuals who choose not to be vaccinated is an extremely difficult, but necessary decision to ensure the safety of all in our school communities,” said interim Superintendent Megan Reilly. “We wish everyone the best in their future endeavors and encourage everyone to get vaccinated.”
In a unanimous 7-0 decision, the school board voted to terminate 496 employees who did not get vaccinated by the district’s November 15 deadline. These employees likely were on leave since October, when LAUSD employees were required to get their first dose of the vaccine.
Terminated employees may be eligible for reemployment once they become vaccinated, according to the school district.
Tracey Schroeder, an LAUSD employee, made one final plea to the board to not go through with the firings before their vote on Tuesday morning.
“I’ve got 24 years and I just want to be back on my school site with the students that I love, with the staff that I love, with the school that hired me,” Schroeder said. “On behalf of all the teachers, please reconsider. There is natural immunity. There’s choice. And there’s no need for such extreme measures.”
As the district terminates hundreds of unvaccinated employees, roughly 34,000 students remain unvaccinated. As of Wednesday, the unvaccinated students do not have enough time to get vaccinated by the start of the spring semester on January 10.
Students who remain unvaccinated will be placed into the district’s independent student program or forced to leave the school district entirely. The school district is currently battling a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of its vaccinate mandate as applied to students.