James O’Keefe of Project Veritas, determined to reveal that teachers’ unions protect their members even if they have abused students, uncovered a San Francisco teachers’ union official who admitted having struck a student but making it look like an accident. The official, Antonio Mankini , a staff organizer with United Educators of San Francisco, also admitted that teachers he knew had struck students but were still working.
O’Keefe sent two journalists undercover to the United Educators of San Francisco, one to pose as a teacher and one as the teacher’s friend.
The first interview on the video showed the supposed friend of the teacher interviewing Mankini. The exchange went like this:
Friend of teacher: If the teacher that himself confirmed that it happened, but it wasn’t just a matter of correcting the kid in an unorthodox corporal way, not spanking necessarily, I don’t mean like spanking, but literally hitting, it would still, but …
Mankini: I can see grabbing a kid; I can see throwing a kid up against a locker. Not that I’ve ever done that. Okay, maybe once, maybe twice. But striking a kid is pretty serious stuff, you know, with a fist. Slapping is one thing, hitting is serious, whether it’s to the face or the chest or whatever, you know.
Friend: That’s the situation that no one knows about it, except the kid and the teacher.
Mankini: Were there any witnesses? Just keep it that way. Seriously. It’s your word against the kid’s. Kids f***ing lie. Seriously. I mean it’s – I’ll disavow any knowledge of this conversation. But you know what? It’s your word against the kid’s. Hell, maybe you really didn’t hit him. He walked into your fist. I don’t know; I wasn’t there. But if there were no witness then you have that deniability and that’s something that could be used. No, I didn’t do it. There’s no scars, marks, tattoos or bruises or anything. There’s no evidence.
Friend: If word got out out from the kid, the union would be able to vouch for the teacher’s side of the story?
Mankini: Well, I don’t know about vouch, I mean, we don’t go to the paper or anything like that. So maybe you just shoved the kid.
Friend: To potentially get him, to prove him … that there’s no proof he did it. I mean, if he actually did it … they would still vouch for him?
Mankini: Yeah, I mean, teachers have smacked kids before. And … sometimes they’re still working.
Friend: And people don’t know about it? Like in terms of press or authorities? … But the thing is to just not say anything about it? Yeah, and if it does get out, treat it like it’s a rumor.
Mankini: Yeah. Because it is. There’s no proof.
Mankini: Unless, of course, the kid’s got a big bruise on his chest.
The next meeting was with the supposed teacher, who confessed that he “did cross the line, probably … it was a swat, sort of like that.”
Mankini said, “And it didn’t really hurt him”.
The “teacher” responded, “No, he was taken aback by it. I think it more shocked him.”
The “teacher” continued, “I know you see a lot of this. Does it happen? Have you seen similar things? Have you seen it just go away?”
Mankini answered, “I’ve seen it go away more than anything else. Lot of kids don’t come forward with it; it’s how they’re treated at home … most of the time it just goes away.”
Mankini later explained:
I spent 17 years working with law enforcement, so I know ways to … It’s like I told them; I could hurt you and never leave a mark … Elbows are awesome weapons, too; they’re harder than a fist … I can use equal force. My force is bigger than yours, though … I mean, I clotheslined a kid in class one time, you know, and I was pretending I was pointing at the kids and the kids saw the kid went down … And that one still bothered me. That one, yeah, because I crossed the line. I know, I mean, I made it look like an accident and all the witnesses would have said, no, he ran into my arm.
“Were there any witnesses? Just keep it that way. Seriously. It’s your word against the kid’s.”