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Dozens of teachers placed on unpaid leave for allegedly using fake vaccine cards

Dozens of NYC teachers accused of faking COVID vaccination cards 01:49

NEW YORK - Dozens of New York City public school teachers are on the verge of being fired after allegedly submitting fake proof of COVID vaccination.

The teachers' union, however, is threatening a lawsuit.

Those dozens of teachers will not be returning to the classroom after spring break, instead getting placed on leave without pay.

"I'm really disappointed to learn there were fake vaccination cards. Not only is it illegal, it undermines our entire trust," Mayor Eric Adams said. 

The Department of Education says fewer than 100 employees are impacted but did not explain how it determined the vaccination cards were fake, only adding law enforcement is investigating.

"It's not safe for our kids, for us, too," parent Jazmin Mendez told CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas.

"People have been faking the cards since the pandemic started. It's nothing new, and the fact that the DOE is just finding out about it now, it's too little, too late," parent Moe Green said.

In a statement, the United Federation of Teachers said the accusations are based on "unproven allegations," adding cutting teachers' pay before showing proof is "a clear violation of the basic notion of due process."

"I don't support any fraudulent or illegal activity, but I understand when people feel desperate," said Michael Kane, founder of Teachers for Choice.

In February, after 14 years as a teacher, Kane was among the 900 education employees to lose their jobs for failure to comply with the city's vaccination mandate, a law Adams says he's not changing despite providing some exemptions.

"We now have Eric Adams saying if you're a high paying performer or athlete, you don't have to abide by this rule, but if you're part of the working class, you do," Kane said. "What we have now is not public health. We have class warfare."

But as COVID cases rise again in the city, so does the threat.

The teachers' union threatened to sue if the Department of Education does not reverse its decision by the end of the day.

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio instituted a vaccine mandate for school and other city employees in the fall, drawing several unsuccessful legal challenges. 

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