The head of the Berkeley teachers’ union is being accused of hypocrisy for sending his daughter to an in-person preschool despite leading the fight against school reopenings over novel coronavirus concerns.
A video released over the weekend showed Matt Meyer, president of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, walking his 2-year-old daughter into a private preschool, prompting outrage from frustrated parents.
Mr. Meyer “blocks opening public schools in-person, yet has had his own child in in-person school since June 2020. Stop the hypocrisy. Our children are suffering. Open schools full-time now,” said the group Guerilla Momz, which posted the video Saturday.
Mr. Meyer accused the anonymous group of invading his family’s privacy, calling the video “super inappropriate.” The video blurred his daughter’s image.
“I have my 2-year-old in preschool. Unfortunately, there are no public schools for kids her age. We are excited that we will be reopening soon with a plan that our members and the district supports,” Mr. Meyer told KQED-TV in San Francisco.
He said that one of the people who followed him “scared my kid and the others in the vicinity. It was super inappropriate.”
While 2-year-olds are too young to attend public school, presumably preschool teachers face the same COVID-19 risks as teachers in the Berkeley Unified School District.
Mr. Meyer said there are “major differences in running a small preschool and a 10,000 student public school district in terms of size, facilities, public health guidance and services that legally have to be provided.”
“We all want a safe return to school,” he told the Washington Times in an email.
The teachers’ union fought reopening schools for in-person instruction until teachers and staff could be vaccinated, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that schools may reopen safely without vaccinations, as long as mask-wearing and social distancing protocols are followed.
“One of the union demands before a return to the classroom was every teacher vaccinated. How long has Matt Meyer’s daughter been attending in-person private school?” asked Reopen California Schools on Twitter.
BREAKING: @BerkeleyUnified union pres. Matt Meyer who has led efforts keeping Berkeley schools closed nearly a year because it’s “unsafe” caught dropping daughter off at private in-person school. Why is it safe for him but not the rest of BUSD families??? Credit @GuerillaMomz— Reopen California Schools (@ReopenCASchools) February 28, 2021
The Berkeley Unified School District reached a tentative agreement last month with the teachers’ union to reopen after nearly a year of remote instruction tied to COVID-19 vaccines.
The tiered reopening plan begins with K-2 students returning March 29 and ends with students in grades 10-12 going back to class on April 19, unless the vaccination schedule is delayed, in which case “this timeline will be pushed back,” said the district in a Feb. 16 press release.
Frustrated parents organized Open Schools Berkeley to push for in-person learning.
“Why is it safe for him but not the rest of BUSD families???” asked Reopen California Schools.
• Valerie Richardson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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