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Teachers file class action lawsuit against School District of Palm Beach County

Attorney says schools cannot reopen safely at this time
Posted at 10:11 AM, Sep 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-20 20:54:19-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A class action lawsuit has been filed against the School District of Palm Beach just days before class is set to start.

"I knew it had to be done, so I jumped right on it," Greg Launel, a culinary teacher at Jupiter Middle School, said. "Monday represents a first day of school that no adult, no child, should ever have to experience but here we are."

Forty-one% of Palm Beach County students, roughly 60,000 kids, are scheduled to return to campus on Monday.

Launel, along with several other teachers, said it's impossible to open safely with that number of students and that they are planning to teach from home while the lawsuit makes its way through the courts.

"I have agreed to represent the teachers for free to try to keep from them from having to go back into a valley of death," attorney Barry Silver said.

In the lawsuit filed on Friday, Silver calls the coronavirus a raging pandemic and alleges that cases will dramatically rise if schools reopen without appropriate safeguards.

"I'm devastated," Launel said. "Every day, I have a near panic attacks and I just start crying because why should this have to happen? Why should we be having this conversation right now? I don't know."

Silver said the opening of schools needs to be delayed and that he has filed a motion for an emergency hearing that could take place as soon as Monday.

The School District of Palm Beach County issued the following statement:

Palm Beach County Public School campuses will reopen to students, as planned and as required by the State's Emergency Order 2020-EO-06, on September 21. The District's legal team is handling the litigation of the matter and does not comment on the strategies of matters that are in litigation. As for District campuses, many efforts have been made to balance the need to have teachers in the classroom for those students who have chosen to return to brick and mortar. The District has been working hard to ensure that both employees and students have an enjoyable and safe return.