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California teachers union spied on parents who wanted schools to reopen during COVID: emails

A California teachers union is being accused of spying on parents after emails reveal the union was conducting opposition research on parent groups fighting for schools to reopen during the height of the COVID pandemic.

The California Teachers Association (CTA) employed a researcher who emailed a parent arm of the local union in April 2021, hoping to dig up information on the motives of San Diego County parents who had successfully sued the state to reopen schools a month earlier.

According to emails obtained through a public records request, the union was seeking to uncover “some of the ideological leaning of groups that are funding the reopen lawsuits.”

The researcher, Ann Swinburn, appeared to at least speculate that the parent groups suing for California schools to reopen were funded by right-wing political groups and big money interests, according to archived tweets she shared.

The California Teachers Association conducted opposition research on parent groups who sued to reopen schools during the COVID pandemic.
Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Emails exchanged between CTA researcher and parents.
Emails show that CTA was looking for information on any ideological motives behind the parents’ desire to reopen schools.
ReopenCASchools/Twitter
Teacher in front of class
Parent groups successfully sued the state of California to reopen public schools in March 2021.
MediaNews Group via Getty Images

Reopen California Schools, which shared the emails, said the groups were truly just parents who wanted their kids back in school with some normalcy.

The CTA didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

A candidate for California superintendent of public instruction condemned the revelations in a statement to Fox News.

“Conducting opposition research is a common practice in political campaigns. 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,” Lance Christensen told Fox News. 



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