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California teachers' union 'spied' on parents who demanded reopening of schools during the pandemic

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California teachers’ union ‘spy’ parents who demanded schools reopen during pandemic, emails reveal

  • A California Teachers Association researcher sent an email to members of a school parent group asking for advice in April 2021
  • The researcher, Ann Swinburn, said she was “examining the various ‘reopen’ groups in the state.
  • At the time, California schools were closed and classes were remote: many parents were dissatisfied with the arrangement and called for change
  • Swinburn’s tweets from a now-deleted Twitter account show her suspicion that the parents who called for the reopening of the classrooms were being used
  • She tweeted that parents are being ‘used for a greater purpose to disrupt, destabilize and ‘burn down’ public schools (see also reopen parents)’

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A California Teachers Association research assistant dug for “dirt” among parents who called for schools to reopen during the pandemic — suspected that they were “used for a greater purpose to disrupt, destabilize and “burn down” public schools.

Ann Swinburn sent an email to members of a parent group in San Diego in April 2021 to try to understand the motivations of those demanding a return to personal education.

Swinburn, an experienced union official, said she was “doing some research on the various ‘reopen’ groups in the state.”

She wanted to arrange a Zoom meeting with parents to ask them if other parents are urging them to end distance learning.

It is unclear whether she has obtained information about activists who want to reopen schools.

CTA has yet to respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.

Ann Swinburn, a research assistant at the California Teachers Association, sought information about parents campaigning to reopen classrooms

Ann Swinburn, a research assistant at the California Teachers Association, sought information about parents campaigning to reopen classrooms

Allison Stratton, a founding member of the Parents Association in San Diego, filed a request for the emails — telling Fox News she believed the emails showed CTA was spying on parents.

“We suspected it because we see the same people show up at every school board meeting saying the same things, echoing what the union says,” Stratton said.

“So it’s no surprise.

“They worked as hard as they could against parents who wanted the school to reopen.”

Swinburn’s emails, published online by the activist group Reopen California Schools, were sent at a time of conflict between parents who wanted their children back in the classroom and teacher unions who said it was unsafe.

Swinburn’s tweets, taken from a now-deleted account, showed she was suspicious of the motivations of those demanding classrooms.

Journalist Judd Legum tweeted in October 2021: “The sudden interest in school boards is not an organic grassroots movement of angry parents. It is an effort orchestrated by seasoned right-wing political operatives who have formed a constellation of well-funded groups.”

Swinburn retweeted the comment with the caption “100.”

She also complained about “parents who really want to make systemic change for their children” being “used for a greater purpose to disrupt, destabilize and ‘burn down’ public schools.”

Reopen California Schools said the groups campaigning to get children back to their schools were simply parents who wanted to get back into personal learning.

CTA has not responded to the emails.

Lance Christian, who is campaigning for election as head of public instruction in California, condemned the revelations.

“Conducting opposition research is a common practice in political campaigns,” he said Fox news.

“But to have the teachers’ union deploy staff to politically target mothers and fathers protecting their own children and expressing their First Amendment rights is both surprising and disgusting.”