The Kentucky Labor Department has subpoenaed Jefferson County Public Schools, in relation to teacher-led sickouts that forced the school district to close six days while educators protested at the state legislature.
A JCPS spokeswoman confirmed that district officials received the subpoena Wednesday afternoon, but could not describe what information was requested. The Labor Cabinet’s deputy secretary and communications staff did not immediately respond to a request for information regarding the subpoena, which was first reported by Insider Louisville.
In March, JCPS submitted the attendance records of school employees to the Kentucky Department of Education, following a request from Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis for the names of employees who called in sick on the days schools were forced to close.
After receiving those records, Lewis said he would leave disciplinary measures for school employees up to district officials. In a statement to school districts, KDE recommended districts revise their sick leave policies to:
- Discipline teachers found to have falsified sick leave requests, up to and including termination.
- Preserve a list of teacher sick leave requests, and if district officials suspect requests have been made to force an illegal work stoppage, to submit that list to the Secretary of Labor for investigation.
State law bans public employees from participating in work stoppages, and any employee who breaks that law may be subject to a penalty of $100 to $1,000.
While Lewis told school districts that the Department of Education would not take unilateral action to punish teachers who may have violated that law, it appears the Department of Labor is now taking the matter into its own hands.
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