Springfield attorney files lawsuit against Springfield Public Schools over reopening plan

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 12:28 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2020 at 2:15 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Springfield attorney Kristi Fulnecky filed a lawsuit Friday against the Springfield Public School District over its reopening plan for the fall semester.

She filed the lawsuit on behalf of clients Kristina Borishkevich, Erica Sweeney and Stoney McCleery.

“School is needed. School interaction is needed. I understand COVID is a devastation for many of us but its devastation isn’t comparable to the amount of devastation we will see on our children’s well being, education, social interaction capabilities if we don’t have schools start to at least be the option five days a week,”said Stoney McCleery’s wife.

The lawsuit petitions the court for temporary injective relief against the reopening plan. It asks for families to have the right to allow kids to attend in-person classes for five days a week. Springfield’s plan allows kids to only attend classes two days a week with three days as virtual learning. The lawsuit focusses on kids with disabilities.

“The Springfield Public Schools re-entry plan is incredibly harmful to many students, but especially to students with unique disabilities and circumstances,” said Fulnecky. 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.”

Ransom Ellis, the attorney for Springfield Public Schools, shared the following statement:

“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.”

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