Rep. Elise Stefanik at war with upstate school district


Representative Elise Stefanik has declared war on the administrators of an upstate school district for allegedly suspending a preschool teacher for sharing the lawmaker’s Facebook posts.

A Jan. 25 message from Stefanik offered a furious denunciation of Gov. Hochul’s plans to pursue a statewide mask mandate — even after it was overturned by a state judge.

“Kathy Hochul’s authoritarian tenure has been ruled ILLEGAL by the New York Supreme Court. Masks are not mandatory for students from NOW!” Stefanik wrote.

The powerful GOP conference chairman is now threatening to subpoena leaders of the Mayfield Central School District in Fulton County before the House Education and Labor Committee.

“Transparency is a good thing,” Stefanik thundered in an interview with The Post. “A teacher has the right to post something saying she doesn’t support the mask mandate.”

The brouhaha began on Jan. 28 when Carey Lizzio was reportedly placed on administrative leave after sharing the message on social media, Stefanik said.

“This highly respected pre-kindergarten teacher was outrageously escorted out of her classroom and is no longer permitted on school property pending an investigation,” Stefanik said a day later. She described it as the “Soviet-style purge of hard-working teachers”.

Rep. Stefanik posted about New York’s mask mandate on Facebook last month.
Facebook

His statement further warned that a blizzard of Freedom of Information Act requests from his office were coming and that “any destruction or concealment of documents or communications is a crime.”

School district officials hit back, calling Stefanik’s accusations “misleading and inaccurate.”

“To protect the privacy of our employees, the school district does not comment on personnel matters. It should be noted, however, that the district would not put someone on administrative leave for posting their personal opinion of the mask mandate on social media,” the district said in a statement to The Post.

The Stefanik team hopes FOIL’s requests for more information will settle the matter once and for all – despite accusing the district of blocking them.

“We want documentation on why this pre-K teacher was placed on administrative leave,” Stefanik said. “They conceal this information.”

Village Mayor Jamie Ward, a Republican and an ally of Stefanik, said Lizzio was put on ice because of the innocuous Facebook post, and did not return until Feb. 7 after Stefanik made stories.

Lizzio did not respond to request for comment.

The mayor blamed school superintendent Christopher Harper.

“This gentleman is not from the region and this is the first time that he has been superintendent. I blame inexperience and maybe personal belief influenced his decision,” Ward said.

Harper did not respond to request for comment.

New York Post

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