A teaching assistant in Loudoun County, Virginia, was threatened with termination for failing to comply with the mask mandates at the same time the district’s union ruler decried data that found a majority of teachers are considering leaving the profession.
John Ray, a teaching assistant at Belmont Ridge Middle School in Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS), received a letter Feb. 7 from the school’s principal informing him that she recommended he be terminated, the Daily Caller exclusively learned. Principal Katie Johnson said she recommended termination because Ray refused to comply with the district’s mask mandate.
“This is to advise you that I am recommending that you be dismissed from employment with Loudoun County Public Schools,” Johnson’s letter reads. “The reason for this recommendation is your continued refusal to return to work or to comply with masking requirements as you were directed to do.”
— Chrissy Clark (@chrissyclark_) February 7, 2022
Ray was informed earlier in the school year that if he failed to comply with the district’s mandate — which flies in the face of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order — he would be charged “Leave Without Pay.” A Virginia Supreme Court already rejected one of the challenges to Youngkin’s executive order. (RELATED: Loudoun County Educators Allege ‘Hostile Work Environment’ As District Threaten To Terminate Maskless Teachers)
Meanwhile, the National Education Association’s (NEA) president — the largest teacher’s union in the nation — is circulating survey data that uncovered “massive staff shortages” in schools nationwide. The Loudoun Education Association, the union association with LCPS, is affiliated with the NEA.
The data found that 55% of teachers say they’re “reconsidering” leaving their jobs earlier than anticipated. Additionally, 74% say they’re overworked and “had to fill in for colleagues or take other duties due to staff shortages.”
The NEA concluded that COVID illness is keeping sick teachers out of the classroom, though other teachers speculate to the Daily Caller that firing noncompliant teachers exacerbates the problem.
NEA President Becky Pringle said the most “disturbing” part of the data is that younger teachers and early educators are leaving at higher rates than older educators.