Barrington School Committee rejects making accommodations for 3 unvaccinated teachers

East Bay

BARRINGTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The Barrington School Committee has decided to move forward with terminating three teachers who have refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

All three teachers are requesting a religious exemption from the vaccine mandate and explained their reasoning before the school committee during a special hearing Thursday night.

But Attorney Sara Rapport, who’s representing the school committee, said their exemption requests would pose an undue burden on the community. 

Rapport said the wellbeing of students and staff is the school committee’s top priority.

“We are not here because the three teachers before you are challenging the mandate itself,” Rapport said. “Instead, we are here because the three teachers before you have refused to obtain a vaccination in violation to committee policy.”

The deadline to get fully vaccinated is Nov. 1. After Monday, the teachers will be placed on unpaid leave.

Attorney Gregory Piccirilly, who’s representing the three teachers, said they plan to appeal the decision.

“My clients made a better presentation than I did, I focused on the law,” Piccirilly said. “What they said was staggering and not one committee member had the guts to even ask them one question, because they know what they’re doing is wrong.”

Barrington Public Schools will hold the teacher’s positions until Jan. 1, so if they choose to get vaccinated, their jobs would still be available.

Piccirilly tells 12 News his clients refuse to change their minds, even with their jobs on the line.

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