New Jersey teachers alarmed by union training to record COVID vaccine conversations with parents and students
A group of New Jersey teachers speak out after being alarmed by union training of teachers asking them to record conversations with parents and students about COVID-19 vaccine in progressive campaign app used by Queen “Squad” Rep . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y.
The National Educators Association (NEA) asked teachers to upload their conversations with students and parents to the progressive campaign app To reach, say the teachers.
The training was delivered by the nonprofit Made to Save, the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
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Jennifer Mess, drama teacher for Middletown Township Public Schools (MTPS) in New Jersey, told Fox News in an email that the NEA and other organizations involved do not view teachers as people who can think critically.
“Having the audacity to support this type of presentation shows that the NJEA, NEA, AFT and any other organization involved clearly do not view educators as professionals or critical thinkers,” Mess told Fox News. “We literally teach our students to be able to critically examine information before making a decision.”
“It was a blatant effort to coerce, manipulate and even track information about students and their parents,” Mess continued. “Anyone involved in this type of deception has lost their morality and the purpose of their education along the way.”
New Jersey State Senator Holly Schepisi, a Republican, told Fox News in an emailed statement that while she supports people getting vaccinated, she is asking teachers to use their position of influence. in the lives of students and their families to push for certain medical decisions while doing political canvassing. the use of children’s data is unethical and bordering on crime.
“I strongly support vaccinations and indeed took heat for encouraging others to get vaccinated,” Schepisi wrote.
“However, to put our teachers in the untenable position of using their ‘trust and influence’ over children and their parents to persuade them to make personal medical decisions, and then encourage teachers through gift cards to seize them. names, addresses and immunization status of these children and their parents in a searchable progressive political database created for and by the Congressman AOC campaign team, is an impermissible breach of privacy and ethics, it is political canvassing using children’s data and it borders on the criminal. “
According to training reviewed by Fox News, teachers were encouraged to use Reach to “track and track” conversations they have had with parents and teachers, offering “gift cards” to the most active users.
“Find out who you’ve spoken to and keep track of your conversations!” The training says with a button “enter data” at the end. “Then add them to your Reach network and add their contact details so that you or Made To Save can follow them later and help them get vaccinated. “
The teachers were also told that they were a “trusted messenger” to the students and asked them to encourage others to get vaccinated. They were told to log into the progressive campaign app.
“As someone the person already knows and trusts, you can find out what is worrying them about the vaccine, engage on a personal level, and share information to help them on their journey to immunization.” , we read on a slide.
Advice was also given on how to proceed for the recorded conversations about vaccines.
“As an educator or school staff member, you are a trusted messenger for many students,” read Made to Save’s advice for conversations about vaccines. “Use these tips to guide your conversations with them and help them stay safe and healthy!” “
The training also provided talking points for educators, telling them to assume that “people intend to get the vaccine unless they say otherwise” and to “adapt” the language to “circumstances. “in which they were.
“Would you like me to help you get a date?” A talking point read.
“I am delighted to see my students and their families safe! Another read.
The training also asked teachers to listen to “what, if anything,” is “delaying” a “detained” person from getting the vaccine and encouraged them to end conversations about vaccines by planning to “check in in a few weeks. vaccine-related problems ”.
Educators were also encouraged to help those who had “barriers” to getting the vaccine, such as lack of transportation, by working with them to put in place a “transportation plan” to get the vaccine.
“We do NOT tell people what to do or what to think,” the “Our Approach” slide reads. “We listen to people and respond authentically to their concerns.”
“You DON’T have to be a healthcare expert to have good conversations,” the slide continues. “To wrap up, help the person make a plan to get the vaccine or plan to check in on their concerns later.”
One slide, titled “Help Them Find Their Own Reason,” encourages educators to do just that, telling them not to “tell them what to do or think” but also to help their “friends and family to think”. find their own reason for getting vaccinated ”.
“The reasons why someone may choose to be vaccinated will always be the most compelling to them personally,” the slide reads, providing an example of what to say to encourage a person to be vaccinated.
The Reach prototype was built for and employee by Ocasio-Cortez’s successful 2018 campaign after being designed by the campaign agent Jake DeGroot.
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According to DeGroot’s company bio, he had “a deep involvement in the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011-2012” before moving on to Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional campaign and Reach himself.
“We built Reach for the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez campaign as a tool for ourselves after realizing that traditional door-to-door canvassing methods limited who we spoke to and when we were able to effectively collect data. on the ground, ”the website says. The “About” page reads.
“Reach has allowed us to reach out on the streets, subways and community events in so many new ways that it has revolutionized the way we connect with voters,” the page continues. “It’s a part of how we won, and we knew other progressive people-powered campaigns could use it to win as well.”
The “About” page also states that the company believes that “state and county Democratic parties are well equipped to be leaders” in constituency building and progressive grassroots efforts.
A carousel on the website also showcases his work with the Ocasio-Cortez campaign.
Reach’s website also states that it has clients who are “generally insurgent progressive campaigns, who may challenge the party establishment in their state, and who have experienced discrimination, de-prioritization, or even opposition or abuse. ‘utter hostility on the part of their State party “.
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Teachers’ concern raises many questions about the use of the recorded data and why the NEA is using a campaign tracking app to record conversations about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Fox News asked both MTPS and NEA why they are encouraging teachers to record conversations about vaccines in a progressive voter tracking app and whether they think this approach to vaccine promotion would result in more vaccinations. of people.
Additionally, Fox News asked if students and parents would be notified if or when their conversations were being tricked and whether or not it was ethical or trustworthy for them to ask teachers to submit people’s personal conversations about their decisions. medical organizations to a clearly political organization.
“NEA members want nothing more than a safe return to in-person learning and science is clearly showing that vaccinations are one of the best ways to keep students and educators safe and in class, “an NEA spokesperson told Fox News.
“Educators are leading conversations to encourage people to learn more about immunization in order to ensure the safety and health of students, their families and our communities,” they continued.
A spokesperson for Made to Save said the nonprofit is “a non-partisan, non-partisan organization whose goal is to increase equitable access to vaccines and knowledge about them to communities of color. , who have been the hardest hit by the pandemic “.
“Made to Save relies on a careful vendor selection process that is informed by the needs of our campaign and the communities we serve,” the spokesperson continued. “Our goal is to increase the capacity and amplify the work of our partners on the ground across the country.”
The Made to Save spokesperson also told Fox News that the data “collected during our use of the REACH app will only be used for outreach efforts to track conversations with individuals about COVID vaccines. 19 “.
MTPS did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Houston Keene is a reporter for Fox News Digital. You can find him on Twitter at @HoustonKeene.