Rep. Elise Stefanik has declared war on administrators of an upstate school district for allegedly suspending a pre-school teacher for sharing the lawmaker’s Facebook posts.
A Jan. 25 post from Stefanik offered a furious denunciation of Gov. Hochul’s plans to continue a statewide mask mandate — even after it was struck down by a state judge.
“Kathy Hochul’s Authoritarian mandate was deemed ILLEGAL by NY Supreme Court. Masks are not mandatory for students as of RIGHT NOW!,” Stefanik wrote.
The powerful GOP conference chair is now threatening to subpoena leaders of 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 a right to put up something saying she doesn’t support the mask mandate.”
The brouhaha began on Jan. 28 when Carey Lizzio was allegedly placed on administrative leave after sharing the post on social media, Stefanik said.
“This widely-respected Pre-K teacher was outrageously escorted from her classroom and is no longer allowed on school property pending an investigation,” Stefanik said a day later. She described it as the “Soviet-style purging of hardworking teachers.”
Her statement additionally warned that a blizzard of Freedom of Information Law requests from her office were coming and that “any destruction or cover up of documents or communications is a crime.”
Reps for the school district have fought back, calling the charges from Stefanik “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 about the mask mandate on social media,” the district said in a statement to The Post.
Team Stefanik is hoping the FOIL requests for more information will settle the matter once and for all — though she has accused the district of stonewalling those.
“We want any documentation for the reason why this Pre-K teacher was put on administrative leave,” Stefanik said. “They’re covering up this information.”
Village Mayor Jamie Ward, a Republican and Stefanik ally, said Lizzio was put on ice over the innocuous Facebook post, and only returned in Feb 7. after Stefanik raised a fuss.
Lizzio did not respond to request for comment.
The mayor blamed school superintendent Christopher Harper.
“This gentleman is not from the area and it’s his first time being a superintendent. I blame inexperience and maybe personal belief influenced his decision,” Ward said.
Harper did not respond to request for comment.