CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A big courtroom battle played out much of this afternoon between West Virginia’s teachers’ unions and the WV State Board of Education. The court ruled in favor of the BOE, saying it has the right to keep schools reopened.
As with so many things these days, the court hearing was conducted by Zoom with the lawyers, press and public able to participate online. Teachers have been trying to block the state-mandated return to the classroom because not all teachers and staff have been vaccinated. The state argues the Constitution allows the state to make the ultimate decisions.
“Our Supreme Court has made it very clear that the State Board of Ed’s authority supersedes that of the county boards. The authority is subordinate to the Constitutional authority of the State Board of Ed.,” said Keli Talbott, Attorney for the WV State BOE.
“So in other words from Sept. 1 to Dec. 1, there was a 250% increase in the total number of cases in West Virginia,” said Andy Katz, Attorney for the American Federation of Teachers of West Virginia, referring to large spikes in COVID-19 cases that happened in the last few months of 2020.
However, this case may not be over yet. The teachers’ unions still have the option to take their arguments to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.