(Natural News) Members of the United Teachers of Los Angeles union were warned in a private Facebook group not to post vacation pictures on social media. According to a report, the warning came as the union continued to seek a safe return to in-person instruction amid the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Based on a screenshot taken by Fox 11 of Los Angeles from a Facebook group called “UTLA FB GROUP- Members Only,” the teachers were urged to keep spring break photos off social media because it could hurt the union’s argument that it’s currently unsafe to return to the classroom.
“Friendly reminder: If you are planning any trips for Spring Break, please keep that off of 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 post read.
The teachers were not advised to avoid going on vacation or socialize while continuing to advocate for schools to remain closed.
Warning comes after union members voted against a return to classrooms
According to UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz, the warning came after union members voted overwhelmingly to reject what they called an “unsafe” return to classrooms unless certain demands were met.
Over five days of voting, 24,580 ballots were cast, with 91 percent, or 22,480, voting yes and only 9 percent, or 2,100, voting no.
The screenshots from the Facebook group were taken by critics of the vote who called out the fact that the union was allowing teachers to go on vacation even while it rejected a return to in-person instruction.
“The union’s decision to condone international vacations while keeping students and educators from returning to classrooms is so hypocritical you would think [Gov.] Gavin Newsom thought of it himself,” John Burke, the communications director for Kevin Faulconer for Governor, said to Fox News. “Our spineless governor refuses to stand up to them and do what’s right for our students. It’s time to recall Newsom.”
To return to classrooms, the UTLA is demanding that L.A. County move out of California’s purple tier. This is the state’s most restrictive tier and moving out of it would require that the county maintain certain metrics for a week. In addition, the union also wants the county to ensure that entire staff be either fully vaccinated or be provided access to full vaccination, and that certain coronavirus safety measures be enacted on campuses.
The UTLA vote came at about the same time that Gov. Newsom stated that he signed a $6.6 billion package to accelerate the safe return of students and teachers to classrooms across the state.
While the package does not force schools to reopen, those that fail to do so by April 1 will lose one percent of eligible funds for every day they miss the deadline.
Union distances itself from Facebook post, but the damage has already been done
In response to the leaked screenshots, the UTLA stated that it did not control what its members said on Facebook.
“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 unions stated to Fox News. “We do not want to discourage a robust dialogue for members in the public square of opinion.”
But the damage has already been done. Local parents were outraged to learn of the post telling teachers to keep their vacations out of the public eye.
“It was extremely frustrating, as a parent, to see [that], hey, vacations are planned as usual for teachers, just don’t put it out in public because we need to negotiate. It’s horrible,” said Renee Bailey, who has two children in the district, to Fox News.
“When I see that post, it tells me that community spread and the safety of the teachers isn’t the real concern.”
Follow EducationSystem.news for more on how schools across the country are reopening in the middle of the pandemic.