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Supreme Court denies teachers union request to halt injunction

Updated September 18, 2023 - 7:11 pm

The Nevada Supreme Court on Friday denied an emergency request from the Clark County teachers union to halt a preliminary injunction that prevents strike activities such as sickouts.

The decision came the same day that five Clark County schools experienced large numbers of unexpected teacher absences.

On Monday, the Clark County School District filed an emergency motion in District Court seeking to stop “rolling sickouts.” The judge in the case ruled Wednesday that a a teacher strike had occurred and ordered the preliminary injunction.

The Clark County Education Association — which represents about 18,000 licensed employees — filed a notice of appeal and an emergency motion for stay with the Nevada Supreme Court.

The Friday order — signed by three Supreme Court Justices Elissa Cadish, Kristina Pickering and Linda Marie Bell — noted that the justices were “not persuaded that a stay is warranted.”

The justices wrote they considered a few factors in deciding whether to grant a stay, including if either party would “suffer irreparable or serious injury.”

They also wrote they considered whether “appellants are likely to prevail on the merits of the appeal.”

Union appeal still pending

The teachers union’s appeal of the injunction remains pending in court.

“Today’s ruling has not changed our appeal of the injunction before the Nevada Supreme Court,” the union said Friday.

The school district said in a Friday statement that it’s pleased the injunction remains in place.

“The only emergency in this case is the continuance of a teacher strike and the resulting harm to children,” the statement said. “We believe that CCEA is unlikely to prevail on appeal, and we look forward to making our case before the Nevada Supreme Court.”

Eight schools experienced one-day closures since Sept. 1 because of unexpected staffing shortages.

Staffing issues have also disrupted operations at a handful of other schools that remained open. They’ve led to some students being relocated to large areas on campus such as auditoriums to ensure supervision.

The teachers union has denied any involvement in sickouts.

After the injunction was issued Wednesday, the union informed educators it represents about the decision and outlined possible consequences for violating the injunction.

Collective bargaining has been underway since late March between the district and union. Thousands of educators protested at school board meetings last month and “pay day rallies” continue outside of schools.

The district declared an impasse Tuesday after 11 negotiation sessions with the union. The matter now heads to arbitration.

Unexpected absences, student protest

The five campuses affected by the large number of unexpected teacher absences Friday were Manch Elementary School, Divich Elementary School, Orr Middle School, Swainston Middle School and Desert Oasis High School.

The district said those campuses remained open and no school closures occurred Friday.

At Basic Academy of International Studies in Henderson, a “large number of students” participated in an organized protest Friday morning during scheduled class time, Principal Gerald Bustamante wrote in an email to parents.

It wasn’t immediately clear what students were protesting.

Under Nevada law, the district must report any student who doesn’t attend or walks out of school as an unexcused absence unless a parent or guardian excused them for the day, he wrote.

“The Clark County School District encourages students to be active participants in democracy,” Bustamante wrote. “The District supports all students who are willing to take the time to research important issues and express their opinions civilly and peacefully. However, we encourage our students to exercise their rights without affecting their class and instruction time as it disrupts their education.”

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on X.

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