Teachers And Parents Sue NYC DOE Over In-School COVID Testing

Kane et al vs. NYC DOE

by Michael Kane

12-14-2020

Update, 12-30-20: This case has been recently settled. Read how HERE

Today attorney Michael Sussman filed a complaint in New York State Supreme Court against the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) alleging privacy rights violations to both teachers and students forced to consent to in-school COVID testing. The complaint was given the following index: 160831/2020 (New York County).

Judge Eileen Rakower has been assigned to Kane vs. NYC DOE. She has scheduled a hearing for oral argument for an injunction tomorrow, Tuesday December 15th at 11am. We are very pleased to see Justice Rakower take our case seriously and assign a swift, timely hearing.

The complaint seeks the annulment of a directive requiring teachers and students to consent to in-school COVID testing until the DOE provides contracts “demonstrating that the vendors involved in the collection, storage and analysis of COVID-19 tests” are prohibited from using the specimens collected in any way other than for COVID testing. The two labs involved in storage and analysis of specimens are Fulgent Genetics and BioReference Laboratories.

The DOE has previously stated that specimens will not be used for anything other than COVID testing, however when asked to provide the contract that affirmed this to be true they were unable to do so. In fact, the DOE’s General Counsel stated they don’t even have the contracts in their possession; only NYC Health + Hospitals has the contracts.

Students whose parents have not signed the consent have already been kicked out of their school buildings, and this week the DOE (with the full support of the teachers union) will begin to place teachers and educators on unpaid leave for not signing the in-school COVID testing consent form. The lawsuit is seeking an injunction against barring teachers/students from school until the contract that makes assurance has been produced and demonstrated to bar the exploitative use of test specimens. 

To date, not a single contract has been produced by the DOE or NYC H+H that proves what is, and is not, permitted to be done with specimens collected from in-school COVID testing. All such agreements remain secret which is ridiculous as they are all public contracts and should be made available upon request.

When a Manhattan-based law firm made a freedom of information request to NYC H+H to provide contracts with Fulgent Genetics regarding in-school COVID testing, the request expired without compliance. (This firm is not involved in the Kane et al vs. NYC DOE case).

Stay tuned to our website for more updates. We will be posting the complaint and all documents filed in court today shortly.

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