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NYC Gives Teachers a Scarlet Letter

New York City has reportedly sent fingerprints of teachers who refused to take the city’s vaccine mandate to the FBI, including “problem code” flags which have sparked fierce outrage from former educators. Some teachers who were fired due to New York City’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate had their profiles flagged for the FBI and the New York Criminal Justice Services with a mark on their record, which will be included in the teacher’s permanent files. The lawyer spearheading the teacher’s lawsuit, John Bursch, says this mark will negatively impact the possibility of former employees seeking a job elsewhere. Rochelle Garcia, who was fired for refusing to take the jab, is outraged over receiving a “scarlet letter” from the City, even though the only crime she committed was doing what she thought was right for herself. 

FOX NEWS: Fingerprints of unvaccinated NYC teachers reportedly sent to FBI with ‘problem codes’: ‘Invasion of privacy’

By Bailee Hill; February 14, 2023

The fingerprints of unvaccinated New York City teachers were reportedly sent to the FBI with “problem code” flags, prompting outrage from former educators who lost their jobs over the mandate. 

Earlier this month, John Bursch, who is representing teachers who are suing the city over the mandate, said teachers who refused the shot now have a “flag in their file,” which will impact their ability to get another job. 

“When the city puts these problem codes on employees who have been terminated because of their unconstitutional policies, not only do they have this flag in their files, but their fingerprints are sent with that flag to the FBI and the New York Criminal Justice Services, so it impacts their ongoing ability to get employment at other places,” Bursch said Feb. 8. 

Rachelle Garcia is a former New York City teacher who lost her job after she refused to get the COVID vaccine. She joined “Fox & Friends First” on Tuesday to discuss the “infuriating” allegations and why she is concerned about the alleged overreach. 

“This is both outrageous and infuriating because my first question to the government or whatever, is basically, what did I do? What kind of criminal activity did I participate besides denying something that I felt that was right for me?” Garcia said to Ashley Strohmier. “Religiously, mentally, I just didn’t want anything experimental on my body, so what criminal activity does that persist?”

“I don’t understand,” she continued. “Like with why am I being flagged? Why is my fingerprint being sent to the FBI?”

Garcia, who taught for 15 years in Brooklyn, was fired after a religious exemption request was denied. 

Investigative journalist Betsy Combier wrote an affidavit uncovering how the Education Department was allegedly able to “flag” certain teachers without sufficient evidence of wrongdoing. 

“I found out that the DOE has right now an agency called the Office of Personnel Investigation, and what they do is they have employees of the DOE who, forgive me, call themselves investigators, but they’re not,” Combier said. “So they work for OPI, and when they get an accusation from anybody, it doesn’t matter who, well, the principals send it to them, but the original complaint against somebody could be made by anybody that this employee, that employee did something wrong.”

“Then they start putting the code on the file, and I think that that’s outrageous, like Rachel said, because no one is told why it’s there, what they did, and in most times, in my experience, the person did nothing wrong,” she continued. 

Combier alleged that teachers who did not have a “valid vaccination card” were immediately flagged with a “problem code” that was sent to the FBI and DOJ. 

Despite the shocking nature of the allegations, Garcia said she is not fearful but hopes to continue to “hold the line” for religious and medical freedoms. 

“This is an invasion of privacy,” Garcia said. “We have to stop them in their tracks now, and just I just want to say one more thing is that I don’t thrive on fear. And I feel like that’s what they try to do.”

Michael Kane, who leads Teachers for Choice, is one of the teachers suing the Big Apple over the vaccine mandate, and he demanded action from the city over the allegations. 

“We need an investigation,” Kane said. “I’m talking right now to members of the Common Sense Caucus in city hall. They are outraged by this, and we will be calling on Mayor Eric Adams in New York City to investigate this thoroughly.” 

“I have my opinions about what happened, but we don’t know until we have a thorough investigation,” he continued. 

Kane said the state has not yet addressed the allegations and has yet to respond to the affidavit.  

“This has now been stated in open court,” Kane said. “It’s been viewed millions of times around the world. Now, we’ve heard nothing come out of New York City. So… put up or shut up. Tell us what’s going on. Otherwise, we have to assume this is true and investigate.”

Photo: Karsten Moran for The New York Times

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