EDWARDSVILLE – Triad Education Association (TEA) President Andrew Frey, Edwardsville Education Association (EEA) Vice President Mollie Rice and Loretta Haggard, an attorney with Schuchat, Cook & Werner, representing the five IEA local unions in Triad and Edwardsville, released the following statements.

These statements come after today’s hearing in Madison County during which the judge granted the Illinois Education Association’s (IEA) motion to intervene on behalf of the five IEA locals in Triad and Edwardsville. The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit against the Triad and Edwardsville school districts.

Media can download and use recorded video from Andrew Frey here, Mollie Rice here and Loretta Haggard here. Please credit the Illinois Education Association for any video use.

Full statement from Triad Education Association (TEA) President Andrew Frey:

“Hello, I am Andrew Frey and I am president of the Triad Education Association. The Illinois Education Association is here today to intervene on behalf of the more than 360 combined members of the Triad Education Association (TEA), Triad Educational Support Personnel Association (TESPA) and the Triad Custodial, Maintenance and Utility Association (TCMUA).

Since the beginning of last school year, we have been committed to delivering the best possible education to the students of the Triad School District in the safest manner possible. Ninety percent of teachers in the Triad School district are vaccinated, and the majority of those who are not, are willingly complying with the testing mandates set forth by the state.

We care for our students. We care for our members. This pandemic is not over and until it is, the TEA, TESPA and TCMUA will stand firmly with safety and science. The IEA has our back. We may have a few members who disagree, and they are entitled, but they do not speak for us as a whole and they are certainly not the majority.

Our district has put great effort into mitigation standards and those standards have been enforced by the administrators and teachers. We are committed to continue working with the district to keep our school environment safe for students and for staff. We know that being in the classroom is what’s best for students, as long as it can be done safely – and we’ll continue to fight to keep it that way.”

Full statement from Edwardsville Education Association Vice President Mollie Rice:

“I am Mollie Rice, vice president of the Edwardsville Education Association, and I am here today to speak out on behalf of the combined 660 members of the EEA and the Edwardsville School Service Personnel Association. Together, with Triad, all five of our associations represent the health and safety of more than 1,000 education employees and more than 11,000 students in the metro east area.

It’s a lot of responsibility and it’s a responsibility we gladly take on. We do it for our students, because we know that the classroom is the best place for them to be. But we do it for our members, too.

I’m going to share the story with you of two members of mine who are married and have a child in our district who was born with a severe lung issue. In fact, this child spent much of its early years in the hospital. The only reason that child has been allowed to attend school in person is because of the mitigation factors that our district has put in place. In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, this family has been able to have some normalcy – both parents working, a child who is able to attend school – because of these safety measures. It’s imperative to the lives of so many, and to the lives of so many they love, that the school environment be kept safe.

It’s our intention to continue to fight for the greater good for everyone in Edwardsville schools and to keep our students in their classrooms and our education employees in their jobs and to keep everyone healthy and safe and that’s why we’re here today.”

Full statement from Loretta Haggard of Schuchat, Cook & Werner:

“We are pleased to say that the court granted the association’s motion to intervene today because of their members’ strong interest in enforcing the districts’ Covid mandates.

After the motion was granted, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit against the two school districts today because they finally realize that the courts are unable to resolve these issues without all necessary parties, which include Gov. Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

The school districts enacted reasonable measures regarding masking and vaccination or testing requirements to keep students and staff safe during the pandemic. These measures were also required by the Governor, IDPH and ISBE.

We are told the plaintiffs will refile their lawsuit in another part of the state, bring in the Governor and others as necessary parties, and consolidate this case with similar lawsuits.

On behalf of its 135,000 members, the Illinois Education Association (IEA) will be there wherever this case is filed, prepared for the fight to keep schools safe for all.”

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At 135,000 members strong, the Illinois Education Association (IEA) is the largest union in Illinois. The IEA represents PreK-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty and support staff, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.