Spokane educator fired for not wearing mask plans to sue the district

SPOKANE, Wash – A former Spokane teacher fired for refusing to wear a mask says she’s suing Spokane Public Schools.

Natalie Poulson, who is also running for a seat in the Washington legislature, says her First Amendment rights were violated.

She was one of several educators at Finch Elementary, including the principal, who refused to wear a mask last November, despite the fact it was mandated by state law.

Poulson was placed on administrative leave at the time; her attorney contends that she was fired after the school mask mandate was lifted.

PAST COVERAGE: Spokane educator explains why she refused to wear a mask at Finch Elementary

On Friday, Poulson announced her intention to take the district to court over the matter.

“Spokane Schools prides itself on restorative practices,” said Poulson in a news release sent on her campaign letterhead. “Years of staff professional development has been used to train staff to restore relationships and not use punitive punishment. You would think that the administration of this district would practice what they teach.”

Poulson said she saw language and social skills deteriorate when kids were required to wear masks.

Her attorney said the district was more concerned about losing state funding for not following the mask mandate than it was about Poulson’s “good faith effort” to bring awareness to the students’ “struggles.”

Poulson is running for a state legislative seat in district three, which is currently held by Timm Ormsby.