Karvelis, Harris Issued Cease And Desist Notice, Infringed Copyright

Legal issues continue to mount for Arizona’s striking teachers. From violating state law to infringing on copyrights, activists are being put on notice about possible legal action.

On Friday, Arizona school districts were advised by the Goldwater Institute that the teacher walkout was illegal and warned that if the schools did not “resume educating children immediately; they risk legal action by parents and students.”

On Saturday, the leaders of Arizona Educators United, Noah Karvelis and Derek Harris, were sent a cease and desist demand from the registered owner of Arizona Educators United and #redfored, Jasper Nichols, Sr.:

Cease and desist of any reference before, during or after rallies, protests, gatherings for media’s dissemination, recording, duplicating through print, silk screen, embroidery, producing printed banners, buttons placards, hats, tee shirts, scarfs, or any other use of “Arizona Educators United” and “#redfored” as a title or name spoken in responses, recorded, duplicated or decimated.

Do not use the two legally protected names within the State of Arizona without the permission from those owning the rights to the Trade Names…protected by the Arizona Secretary of the State.

Progressive educators Karvelis and Harris claim they formed Arizona Educators United in response to a request for assistance from Joe Thomas of the Arizona Education Association.

Nichols advised Thomas and others in an email: “This is a very clear legal matter and must be honored as we have protected those Trade Names and expect this situation to be honored with respect to law. There is no Arizona Educators United other than us…by decree of the Arizona Secretary of State…not shared by others.”

Nichols only secured Arizona Educators United and #redfored with the Arizona Corporation Commission on April 20, leaving some to question his motives and legal standing. Nichols’ stunt could backfire and put him in legal jeopardy.

Nichols says he hopes his organization can increase transparency in education for Arizonans. Nichols is referring in part to the source funding behind the march to the Arizona Capitol last week, which drew approximately 50,000 teachers, blue collar union members, and Democratic Party activists.

Nichols argues that everyone he knows supports increased pay for teachers, but “what we saw last week was not about teacher pay. It was about getting Governor Ducey unelected.” Jasper argues that if the teachers’ strike was about a pay increase, the teachers would have returned to the classroom when Ducey announced that he and legislators had reached a deal that would increase teacher pay 20 percent in four years.

Instead, in response to the governor’s announcement about the deal, Thomas announced the strike would continue and he called on teachers and union members to join him at the Capitol again on Monday. School administrators were then forced to announce that most of Arizona’s traditional public schools will be closed on Monday.

The following joint statement can be attributed to Joe Thomas, President of the AEA and Noah Karvelis, music teacher and Arizona Educators United organizer:

Thomas will be joined by American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten. In its press release, AFT advises that “there will be a noon rally of teachers and supporters, including Democratic lawmakers.”

A progressive organization, Children’s Action Alliance, dedicated to increasing corporate taxes will also be promoting the “Invest in Education Act” at the Capitol on Monday. According to the organization, “The Invest in Education Act focuses on the most urgent needs for our students. It creates a secure funding source to keep great teachers in Arizona classrooms and give our students the one-on-one attention they need to be successful. And it does so in a thoughtful and responsible way: by balancing our revenue streams and asking those who can afford it to pay their fair share.”

Progressives hope to get the “Invest in Education Act” on the November ballot.

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