Seemingly Anti-Vax Illinois Teacher Just Fooling, She’s Been Vaccinated For Months

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Kadence Koen, a business and math teacher in Springfield, Illinois, has been in defiance of the state's mandate that teachers either get vaccinated against COVID-19 or take weekly tests confirming they aren't an active plague threat to their students. She's on unpaid leave until November 17.

You might presume from all the fuss that Koen's unvaccinated, but she's actually just being annoying for kicks, apparently. The Southeast High School teacher informed Springfield School District 186 this weekend that she's vaccinated and posted her vaccination card on Facebook. However, she didn't suddenly fold under pressure. It turns out she's been vaccinated for months.

The State-Journal Register reports:

Koen uploaded a copy of the card to Gina McLaughlin-Schurman, the district's assistant superintendent of human resources.

The card showed she received her first dose of the vaccine on June 29 with the second dose coming on July 19, well before Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker came out with the mandate about school personnel.

So, she's not actually “anti-vax." She's just pro-being-an-asshole?


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Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a vaccine mandate for teachers on August 26, as the delta variant was surging. This was the safest way to resume in-person schooling. So why did Koen go all Bartleby, the Scrivener, over providing proof she's been fully vaccinated since July? She claims her decision, which she insists was totally not a stunt, was all about "liberties and freedoms and medical autonomy."

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Koen had cited the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act as grounds for her defiance, but the state wasn't physically forcing her to get vaccinated. It was a condition of employment. She also wouldn't even submit to regular testing. Arguably, she wouldn't have to publicly reveal the results. She could just stay home if she tested positive.

She said she wanted to take the issue to the courts, but feels heartened nonetheless that she's "created conversation in the community."

" I am glad it's getting people to think. I am glad it's getting people to look into what's going on.

"Whether people agree or disagree with my methods or agree or disagree with my stance, I'm glad people are talking. I'm glad people are no longer just accepting things as this is the way it has to be."

Koen's partner in silliness was Kingsley Keys, a music teacher at Franklin Middle School. Yes, a man named “Keys" is a music teacher. Life is beautiful and strange.

Anyway, unlike Koen, Keys seems like a true believer. He called the COVID-19 vaccine "a life-altering medical procedure" and "an experimental biological agent." He described himself and Koen as "two markedly exceptional teachers," so he's got a pretty high opinion of himself.

Saturday, Keys released a statement insisting that "this forced compliance as a condition of employment stands in stark contrast to the very impetus for informed consent and legislated medical autonomy, rights replete throughout federal and state statute, legislated to counter overreach. Historically, you're never forced into compliance by the good guys."

He also refuses regular COVID-19 tests for ... reasons.

"My overarching reason to not test is the popular adage: if you leave your children a world where you never stood up, they'll inherit a world where they can't."

This is truly a noble sentiment from a self-important ass who doesn't care if he breathes COVID-19 all over his students.

"I doubt I'll persuade some to my viewpoint and why I stand where I do. I stand on a broad base of substantial research and well-thought out decisions. If the type and frequency of test can be forced as a condition of employment while unilaterally changing contractual language with zero ratification or voting, then I guarantee they will not stop there.

"In this culture of increased overreach and control, aimed at controlling every heartbeat, I stand up for all Illinoisans willing to listen."

Yeah, we get it. Keys is proudly anti-science and opposed to any sense of collective responsibility. Do we have to chat about it all day?

Koen and Keys were both facing "discharge and dismissal" and had until Wednesday to fulfill the district's “remediation plan." Koen blinked and cast aside her tinfoil hat, for the CHILDREN.

"I didn't want to have to produce a vaccination card because I don't think that's legal or appropriate, but if you ask me to choose between my personal beliefs and my students, my students will win," Koen said. "My mother said that I was a round peg in a round hole (at Southeast) and I do well with kids there and that's where I belong. I know I make a difference there."

Sure, lady, whatever. Thanks for wasting everyone's time.

[ The State Journal-Register]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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