A private social media entry by the United Teachers Los Angeles instructs teachers and staff not to post pictures of their vacations on social media because doing so will undermine the union’s narrative that it’s too unsafe to reopen schools.
“If you are planning any trips for Spring Break, please keep that off Social Media. It is hard to argue that it is unsafe for in-person instruction, if parents and the public see vacation photos and international travel,” the Facebook post says, according to a screengrab tweeted by FoxLA correspondent Bill Melugin.
“Amen,” one person responded.
“Or better yet, don’t travel on spring break and set an example,” another user wrote.
In a statement to Melugin, the teacher’s union refused to condemn the post and its implications.
“We have a diverse membership and they are able to post their views on personal Facebook pages and in this Facebook group – however UTLA does not monitor nor is responsible for the content,” the UTLA said.
Statement from UTLA to @FOXLA when we asked about the post:
"We have a diverse membership and they are able to post their views on personal Facebook pages and in this Facebook group – however UTLA does not monitor nor is responsible for the content." Parents angry. Story at 10pm.
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) March 9, 2021
In January, critics blasted Chicago Teachers Union executive board member and local area vice president Sarah Chambers for photos she posted to social media during a late-December vacation to San Juan, Puerto Rico, as she advocated to the city’s schools to remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chambers, who also reportedly teaches, defended herself online, claiming that she got several COVID tests and wore N95 masks during the trip. She also said “scientists” have declared “airplanes are safer than grocery stores bc [because] airplanes have ICU level filtration & everyone wears masks.”
She also said that she contracted COVID for two months and that her doctor said it was unlikely she’d get it again.
At the time, however, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory warned against traveling to Puerto Rico.
“Cool. Hope you have fun! Also, stop advocating for school closures. If testing and masks work for flights and pina colada pool parties, they certainly work for doing your *job* and teaching low-risk kids. Chicago has abandoned kids in March. Just do your job,” one user wrote in response.
The CDC has cited studies showing that reopening schools is safe because kids and young teens are the least at risk of catching or spreading the virus, but larger districts around the country including the Los Angeles Unified School District remain closed to in-person instruction due to union opposition.
The longer schools remain shuttered, the more frustrated parents have become, especially in L.A., as Melugin has reported.
Lamar Freeman has been a coach of LA Rampage, a youth football team in Watts, since 2011. He says every parent he talks to wants their kids back in school & UTLA's comments "sounded like an excuse". He says prior to Zoom learning, his team had 80% honor roll rate. Now 20% @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/sZo80wpSW1
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) March 3, 2021
Also, holding kids out of in-school learning has had devastating effects on their mental health. The data “showed us — it’s something we have been echoing for months now. Our children are suffering from this pandemic, specifically the lockdown, the social isolation, and being out of school,” Fox News medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier said earlier this month.
She went on to note that “mental health claims doubled as a fraction of their percent of overall claims, overdoses over 90 percent, substance abuse over 90 percent, and those only got worse in April .”
Last summer things improved for kids but “there was a drastic increase in self-harm claims that occurred right as children were going back to school again, and in my opinion, that really does coincide with the anxiety children felt as they were being told that they weren’t able to go back to in-person,” Saphier added.
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