SARASOTA — The Sarasota Classified/Teachers Association is looking for additional complainants in a statewide lawsuit designed in part to delay the start of school until, it says, safer conditions are met.

SC/TA has been working with the statewide Florida Education Association on its lawsuit against the state Department of Education on the reopening of schools order since the lawsuit’s inception.

SC/TA President Pat Gardner was part of a conference call of local union leaders from around the state recently that discussed going forth with the lawsuit.

SC/TA’s attorney, Ron Meyer, is co-counsel on the case.

FEA’s officials called Gardner this week and asked if the SC/TA could spread the word. In particular, the FEA is looking for employees who may have resigned or retired early or taken a leave of absence they would not have otherwise taken due to COVID-19, Gardner wrote in an email to the SC/TA membership.

She asked anyone willing to serve as a co-complainant in the lawsuit to contact her.

On Aug. 6, the lawsuit venue was moved to Tallahassee. FEA called it a procedural delay but not a defeat.

“While the defendants’ lawyers insist the governor and commissioner want a quick resolution, they are trying to run out the clock in advance of a return to in-person learning, all while turning aside the FEA’s calls for mediation of the matter,” said the FEA on its website. “In Florida, some schools reopen Monday — in an experiment on kids and staff, from bus drivers to administrators and everyone in between.”

Almost 50,000 educators and parents responded to an FEA survey regarding their concerns around reopening school campuses in the coming weeks.

“There is broad consensus that not enough is currently being done to protect the safety and well-being of students and staff,” said FEA on its website.

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