Judge grants CCSD motion for injunction, calling teacher sickouts a ‘strike’

The Clark County School District’s motion for an injunction to stop teacher “sickouts” was granted in district court.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 12:48 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The Clark County School District’s motion for an injunction to stop teacher “sickouts” has been granted in district court.

The ruling came during a Wednesday morning court hearing. Recent unexpected teacher shortages across the Las Vegas Valley have caused multiple schools to cancel classes or adjust their daily instructional plans. Wednesday’s ruling effectively ruled that these actions constituted a strike, according to District Court Judge Crystal Eller.

“The absentee level at the affected schools is unprecedented,” the motion said, “and these mass sickouts have left students, parents, staff, and administrators scrambling to ensure students’ wellbeing.”

The Clark County Education Association, which represents about 18,000 licensed educators, denied that it was behind the recent wave of absences.

“We have no knowledge of what you’re inquiring about,” said Keenan Korth with CCEA last week. “Nor is what you are describing associated in any way with CCEA actions now or in the future.”

“Unfortunately, the script today in front of the court was a story that this union engaged in an illegal strike and we didn’t do that,” said CCEA Executive Director John Vellardita. “So, I think there’s going to be some acknowledgment at some point that teachers are very angry in this school district. That’s all I’ll say at this point. We respectfully disagree. We will be appealing before the Supreme Court.”

Vellardita and other members of CCEA leadership were named in CCSD’s emergency motion for an injunction.

An attorney for CCSD argued the union had a plan in place to hide what was going on. CCEA unsuccessfully argued that there was no evidence of a strike or that CCEA was behind it.

Judge Eller ruled that a strike had occurred with the sick-outs. Under state statute, a strike is a work stoppage, slowdown or interruption. Eller said that in the 1970s, the state decided that teachers could not be allowed to strike due to the public service they perform.

She did, however, say she wants our students to have good teachers and office staff, and they should be fully compensated and have the benefits they deserve.

“You guys are out on the front lines like the military, like first responders, and there are too many people counting on you,” the judge said. “There are children counting on you. There are families that need to go to work and feed their families and put roofs over their heads that are counting on you, you guys, to show up and follow the law and abide by the law and do your job.”

Judge Eller also encouraged both sides to get back to the bargaining table and do it “according to the law” and “in good faith.”

CCSD released a statement following the judge’s decision:

FOX5 was told that it may take a day or two to get the injunction paperwork filed and in place.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.