In California, a teachers union has been accused of spying on the parents of students who demanded the reopening of schools and the rollback of COVID-era restrictions.
The New York Post reports that emails from the California Teachers Association (CTA) were recently uncovered showing that the union had hired a “researcher” to do opposition research on San Diego parents who had successfully sued to have the state reopen schools in March of 2021.
Obtained through a public records request, the emails revealed that the CTA had hired Ann Swinburn in April of 2021, just one month after the successful lawsuit, for the purpose of uncovering “some of the ideological leaning of groups that are funding the reopen lawsuits.” Swinburn, in now-archived tweets, had previously claimed, with no evidence, that parental rights groups and other organizations that supported reopening were funded by right-wing groups and big money.
The group that uncovered the emails, Reopen California Schools, responded to the findings by reaffirming that they were not funded by larger organizations, and instead simply consists of concerned parents who wanted to see their children return to a regular school routine. Meanwhile, the CTA did not respond to requests for comment by the Post.
Lance Christensen, the Republican nominee for California Superintendent of Public Instruction, released a statement condemning the CTA’s newly-revealed conduct.
“Conducting opposition research is a common practice in political campaigns,” Christensen noted. “But to have the teachers’ union dedicate personnel to politically target moms and dads protecting their own children and expressing their First Amendment rights is both startling and disgusting.”