Leaked messages from a private Facebook group for members of United Teachers Los Angeles union show teachers being warned not to share pictures of their Spring Break trips online, over concerns that it might compromise the union’s stance against returning to in-person schooling due to concerns over COVID-19.
What are the details?
In a post obtained by KTTV-TV, members were given a “friendly reminder” that reads:
“If you are planning any trips for Spring Break, please keep that off Social Media. It is hard to argue that it is unsafe for in-person instruction, if parents and the public see vacation photos and international travel.”
NEW: In a leaked post from a private Facebook group for UTLA union members only, teachers are warned not to post on… https://t.co/rBI3YB6af2
— Bill Melugin (@Bill Melugin)1615254375.0
The message was sent just days after more than 90% of UTLA’s 25,000 teachers voted against returning to the classroom unless the Los Angeles School District meets the union’s standards. UTLA is asking that all staff be vaccinated (or have access to the COVID-19 vaccine), and for additional safety standards to prevent coronavirus spread such as ventilation and daily cleaning.
UTLA issued a statement in reaction to the Facebook comment, saying:
“We have a diverse membership and they are able to post their views on personal Facebook pages and in this Facebook group – however UTLA does not monitor nor is responsible for the content. We do not want to discourage a robust dialogue for members in the public square of opinion.”
It appears whoever posted the message to UTLA members might have seen the backlash last month against a Chicago Teachers Union leader who posted photos online boasting from her vacation in Puerto Rico, after arguing just hours earlier that Chicago’s schools were not safe enough to reopen for in-person learning.
According to KTTV reporter Bill Melugin, parents in the Los Angeles school district were angered over the leaked warning to Spring Breaking teachers — which came just a week after UTLA’s president sparked outrage when she blamed “white, wealthy parents” for “driving the push” for California to reopen schools in a decision she sees as premature.
“We are being unfairly targeted by people who are not experiencing this disease in the same ways as students and families are in our communities,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz asserted in reaction to California’s $2 billion plan to incentivize schools to be open by April 1.
“If this was a rich person’s disease, we would’ve seen a very different response. We would not have the high rate of infections and deaths,” Myart-Cruz said. “Now educators are asked instead to sacrifice ourselves, the safety of our students, and the safety of our schools.”
Special UTLA News Statement 3/01/2021