Emails obtained through public records requested from a parent’s association revealed California’s largest teachers union had a researcher allegedly spy on parents who fought for their children to return to classrooms during the pandemic.
Allison Stratton, one of the founders of the Parents Association, which is a group of North San Diego County parents in various school districts, told Fox News that the emails from the California Teachers’ Association (CTA) showed it worked against parents who wanted their children’s schools to reopen completely.
“We already suspected (it) because we see the same people show up at every school board meeting saying the same things, echoing what the union is saying,” Stratton said. “So, it’s not a surprise.”
The CTA, which proudly boasts that it’s the largest democratic and member-driven organization in the state, allegedly began searching for information a month after the parent’s group successfully sued the state to reopen schools in March 2021.
The teachers union reportedly summoned strategic research specialist Ann Swinburn to uncover “some of the ideological leaning of groups” that bankrolled the lawsuits filed against school districts across the state.
In a series of exchanges, Swinburn reached out to a group of anonymous insiders who had the scoop on the Parents Association. During one of the replies, one of the parties accidentally included a principal within the San Diego Union High School District, which had been sued by a local union — backed by CTA — to stay closed in December 2020.
“I think you accidentally included Adam Camacho on your reply,” one email reads. “Not sure if we need to do any damage control.”
“I don’t think there will be an issue,” the response said. “Unless someone does a record request for his work email.”
And Stratton, with the Parents Association, did just that.
Once the association disseminated the emails around social media outlets, Swinburn deleted her Twitter account. However, several archived tweets from Swinburn unearthed by parent groups allege that the CTA researcher believed right-wing groups and big money interests were behind the vanguard for children to return to in-person learning.
Lance Christensen, a candidate running for California superintendent of public instruction, condemned the revelations as “startling and disgusting” 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,” Christensen said. “Entrenched special interests have used their war chests over the last two and a half years to intimidate and threaten anyone who dares to challenge their ineffective reign over public education.”
“This must end,” he added.
The CTA did not immediately return a request for comment.
🚨 BOMBSHELL 🚨
Newly PRA’d emails show @WeAreCTA conducted opposition research on school reopening parent groups during the school shutdowns in CA.
Then after a principal was accidentally CC’d, the “damage control” was asking him to illegally delete the email.
— Reopen California Schools (@ReopenCASchools) September 5, 2022