BARRINGTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Barrington Public Schools agreed to pay three teachers tens of thousands of dollars after they were fired during the COVID-19 pandemic for refusing to get vaccinated, prompting a legal appeal.
The district also said the teachers will be allowed to return to work if they choose to do so.
Stephanie Hines, Kerri Thurber and Brittany DiOrio will each receive $33,333, according to the district, on top of individual back payments. Hines will receive an additional $65,000, while Thurber will get $128,000 and DiOrio will get $150,000.
The teachers’ legal council is also receiving $50,000.
Barrington Public Schools released a statement saying it relied on recommendations from the CDC and R.I. Department of Health to help keep students and staffers safe during the pandemic.
“Our then-policy helped combat the pressing public health crisis of the time, while keeping schools open, and one that nearly all faculty and staff adhered to,” the statement said.
School officials went on to say that since this “expensive litigation would likely continue for a lengthy period of time,” it was in the district’s best interest to resolve it.
The teachers’ lawyer, Gregory Piccirilli, gave a statement to 12 News maintaining that his clients shouldn’t have been required to take the vaccine in the first place.
“At this time, my clients are in the process of rebuilding their lives and careers, as well as their reputations, after having been vilified by so many for taking a stand in their faith in opposing what was both an illegal and immoral vaccine mandate,” he wrote.