Teachers’ lawyer Greg Piccirilli: “The teachers have been made whole. It is as if they were never fired.”
In an overwhelming victory, the three Barrington (RI) teachers fired last year for refusing the Covid vaccine have settled all claims against the Barrington School Committee in their favor, their lawyer, Greg Piccirilli announced today.
We covered the teachers’ ongoing battles with the Barrington school district here:
- “Imagine How it Feels to be One of Only Three Educators out of 21,000 in the State of Rhode Island to Lose Your Job Over This Vaccine”
- Court: Barrington (RI) School Committee Liable For Attorney’s Fees Of Teachers Fired Over Covid Vax Mandate
- Vaccine Mandate That Led To Firing Of Three Barrington (RI) Teachers Lacked Necessary Public Notice, Court Rules
- “Just Devastating” – Three Teachers Who Sought Religious Exemption From Covid Vaccine Fired In Barrington (RI)
Each of the three teachers—Brittany DiOrio, Stephanie Hines, and Kerri Thurber—had requested a religious exemption from taking the Barrington school district’s mandatory Covid vaccine at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. The district denied their requests, suspended them without pay, and ultimately fired them effective January 1st of 2022.
Brittany DiOrio expressed her appreciation for our coverage:
“In January 2022, I was terminated from my teaching position for not following a vaccine mandate. Barrington was and continues to be the only district in the state of RI mandating/terminating teachers for not complying with a mandate. Legal Insurrection not only provided clear, accurate and precise information regarding our case, Professor Jacobson and his team took the time to hear our story and put into words what we had experienced during this incredibly difficult time. Legal Insurrection showcased the blatant overreach of the Barrington school committee as well as the current administration. Continued support and gratitude for the team at Legal Insurrection, who work tirelessly to get the truth heard.”
The school committee has agreed to full reinstatement with back pay, as well as attorney’s fees, it announced today:
The three teachers have the opportunity to return to teaching positions within the Barrington School District should they choose to do so, at the steps they would have been at had they worked continuously. Each individual will receive a payment of $33,333, along with back payments: Stephanie Hines ($65,000), Kerri Thurber ($128,000), and Brittany DiOrio ($150,000). Attorney fees totaling $50,000 will be paid to the teachers’ legal counsel.
Piccirilli says the school has also agreed to pay punitive damages totaling $100,000 to be split three ways among the teachers.
The teachers’ two-year battle with the district also took a toll on their names and reputations. The agreement requires their termination records to be expunged, Piccirilli explained today in an interview.
The teachers have been made whole in every respect, he says. It is as if they were never fired.
Today’s victory isn’t only a vindication for the teachers, Picirilli said in the interview, it should be an example for others who have faced similar trials forcing them to choose between their jobs and their faith:
They’ve shown amazing resilience to stick by their faith. A lot of other people with similar situations have gone through this. And hopefully [this resolution] will serve as an example of how others should be vindicated the same way, for sticking up for what they believe in.
It is more than they could have hoped for, he said, had they gone to trial.