Fulnecky Sues Springfield Public Schools

A week after filing a lawsuit against the City of Springfield over the mandatory face covering ordinance, former City Council member Kristi Fulnecky is suing the Springfield Public Schools.

The lawsuit names plaintiffs Kristina Borishkevich, Erica Sweeney, and Stoney McCleery. Defendants named in the suit includes SPS Superintendent, John Jungmann and SPS Board Members Denise Fredrick, Gerry Lee, Alina Lehnert, Jill Patterson, Bruce Renner, Charles Taylor, and Shurita Thomas-Tate.

The lawsuit seeks to have families be given the option to attend in-person five days a week, stating in a press release the current two day a week option “violates the Plaintiff’s’ constitutionally and federally protected rights.”

“The Springfield Public Schools re-entry plan is incredibly harmful to many students, but especially to students with unique disabilities and circumstances.Many of these students are unable to participate in online learning and will regress. SPS has not provided equal access to education for these students. In addition, the plan creates unnecessary economic hardship on families who have to quit jobs in order to homeschool their children or attempt to hire professionals who are trained to work with unique abilities,” Fulnecky said in a statement.

Stephen Hall, Chief Communications Officer for Springfield Public Schools, provided OI with a statement from Ransom Ellis, Legal Counsel for the District:

Springfield Public Schools remains focused on serving its students, staff and community during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to providing educational resources that meet a variety of academic needs, SPS is also responsible for creating a safe learning and working environment for students and staff. With the current level of increased Covid-19 exposure in our community, the district has made the wise decision to reduce the number of people within school buildings to allow for appropriate social distancing when school resumes on August 24. In addition, SPS will appropriately require masking for all students and staff and implement increased cleaning protocols. SPS is offering as much choice to students and parents as possible, with the promise that the district will reevaluate the ability to increase the number of in-person days in the classroom at the end of the first quarter. The decision will be based on health data that tracks the local progression of the pandemic and its effect on the school environment. The legal action announced today does not provide practical solutions to address the unique and significant challenges faced by the school district and the community. It is an unfortunate distraction, without legal merit, during a difficult time for everyone.