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New York Mandate Podcast
New York Mandate Podcast, Ep. 16: Physical Education Teacher Chris

New York Mandate Podcast, Ep. 16: Physical Education Teacher Chris

"This whole thing has been tyrannical": A conversation with Chris, a phys-ed teacher and coach who was fired after his requests for medical and religious exemptions to the vaccine mandate were denied.

“We are at a crossroads, and it could go one way or the other. People have to stop complying. People have to fight back and say, ‘No, we're not doing this anymore,’ because tomorrow afternoon they can just say, ‘Oh, another wave just hit! We’ve got to shut down the businesses and we’ve got to wear masks. . . .” And if people just say, ‘No, we just went through hell for the last two years. We don't care what you say. We're not going to comply.’ . . . Stop complying. Stop listening to people who don't give a damn about you.” - Chris

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In this episode of the New York Mandate podcast, I talk with Chris, who taught physical education for nearly 24 years at the same NYC high school. He applied for a medical exemption to the vaccine mandate on his doctor’s advice, due to his history of pulmonary embolisms. He also applied for a religious exemption as a Christian.

His applications were denied, and he was placed on leave without pay in October 2021. He was terminated from his teaching position in February 2022. He was also terminated from his coaching jobs.

Chris talked with me about his union’s failure to support him and other teachers, the practical and financial consequences of being terminated, and why he objected to other pandemic measures, such as mask mandates.

We also talked about why he loved being a teacher and a coach, what it was like to teach physical education when his school went remote during the pandemic, and how he has seen education and society change over the past couple decades.

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More from Chris:

Chris has his own YouTube channel, which you can check out here.

He recently asked New York State Senator John Liu to comment on the terminations of teachers under the vaccine mandate:

He also published a response to Michael Mulgrew on the channel:

Here are some links related to things we talked about during the episode:

United Federation of Teachers
The UFT is the union that represents teachers in the New York City public school system.

Michael Mulgrew
Michael Mulgrew is president of the UFT.

New York Mandate Podcast, Ep. 6: Attorney Sujata Gibson
Civil rights attorney Sujata Gibson is representing plaintiffs in the lawsuit from which judges recused themselves after having been discovered to own Pfizer stock. She discussed the issue in our conversation here.

New York City Department of Education
The DOE manages New York City’s public school system, which is the largest in the United States.

3020-a Teacher Tenure Hearings
Tenured educators in New York may only be terminated if there is “just cause” pursuant to Education Law §3020.  Those facing termination are entitled to challenge the charges against them in a 3020-a hearing.

Nuremberg Code
This internationally recognized set of ethical principles for human medical experimentation was established after the Second World War.

Event 201
This “global pandemic exercise” was held during October 2019 in New York City. It was sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, World Economic Forum, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Announcement of NYC Department of Education Employee Vaccine Mandate
This is the August 23, 2021, announcement of the vaccine mandate for New York City Department of Education employees by then Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter and Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi.

Order of the Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene to Require COVID-19 Vaccination for City Employees and Certain City Contractors
This is the order that former Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi issued on October 20, 2021 requiring New York City municipal employees and contractors, including teachers, to be vaccinated.

Order of the Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene to Require COVID-19 Vaccination in the Workplace
This is the order that former Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi issued on December 13, 2021 requiring all workers in New York City who work in a workplace or interact with other workers or the public to be vaccinated.

NYC Vaccination Requirement: Workplaces
This is where you can find current information on New York City’s workplace vaccination requirements.

About the New York Mandate Podcast

The New York Mandate Podcast is an ongoing series of conversations exploring the costs and consequences of vaccine mandates in New York City. I’ll be talking with workers who have been directly affected by the mandates, as well as legal and policy experts.

In late 2021, the city introduced a series of requirements for workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. These requirements were put in place through executive orders issued by the administration of former mayor Bill de Blasio.

Current mayor Eric Adams continues to support the mandates, and they now extend to most working people in the city of New York. Private sector employers are required to affirm that their employees have been vaccinated, and public sector employees of city agencies have been terminated or put on unpaid leave for failing to comply with the vaccine requirement.

The views expressed in the New York Mandate podcast are the personal opinions of the people speaking, and are not intended to provide medical or legal advice.

Join the Conversation

Have you lost your job, been put on leave, or lost opportunities to work as an independent contractor as a result of your decision not to comply with a New York vaccine mandate? Did you take a vaccine against your wishes in order to keep your job? Please get in touch with me at

No One You Know
New York Mandate Podcast
Conversations with New Yorkers who are bearing the costs and consequences of New York's COVID-19 vaccine mandates.