Three teachers’ union officials, current and former, in Ohio have been captured on recorded interviews admitting they have protected teachers who have abused students.
“This is not new, I mean I’ve had teachers in physical altercations with kids, sexual altercations with kids, verbal altercations with kids, violating the professional standards rules and other ways that don’t involve kids and it’s, s— happens. You know?”
Those are the words of Bill Siegferth, a former president and current consultant for the Akron Education Association, which is affiliated with the National Education Association.
He explains how unions have defended all sorts of abusers.
The video, which includes comments from two other officials, is part of a larger nationwide investigation by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas. The organization previously released four videos, including those exposing two New Jersey Education Association presidents who admitted they would “bend the truth” and protect abusive teachers.
This is the fifth in the series, videoed April 25, 2018, in offices across Ohio.
Project Veritas said Siegferth assured the undercover journalist that he would not report any abuse he discovered during their conversation.
“You know I have an obligation to him as a union rep, I’m not going to turn around and call the schools and call CSB (Children’s Services Board) and say this guy … I have reason to believe he abused a kid. If that’s a concern. I don’t even know if you guys have thought of that. But that’s not going to happen,” he said.
The undercover journalist continued, “It’s definitely a concern.”
“But from here that would not be the case,” Siegferth said.
Journalist: “So, if he came in and told you the story about smacking a kid and getting his nose bloodied and cleaning him up and sending him home saying, you know, keep your mouth shut you would not report that?”
Siegferth: “Oh no, no, no.”
“This was not an isolated incident,” Project Veritas said. “On the same day in the AFT-affiliated Cleveland Heights Teachers Union, former union president and current consultant to the president Tom Schmida met with an undercover journalist as well.
“The journalist explains to Schmida that a teacher may have ‘injured’ a student. After learning that the teacher hadn’t apologized to the student, Schmida says ‘Ok, that’s probably a good thing.'”
Schmida continued, “At this point now, the only concern would be that if he did apologize to the kid … it’s an admission and we don’t want that right now.”
The report said a similar encounter in Dayton, Ohio, occurred when an undercover journalist spoke to David Romick, union president at the NEA-affiliated Dayton Education Association.
Romick explains he has dealt with cases of physical contact between a teacher and a student at least 80 times in his career.
Romick, who was honored by Barack Obama in 2013 at the White House for being a “champion of change,” said, “I’d say, in cases of physical contact, I’ve probably deal with this, remember we have a membership of over 1,000 … in 30 schools, I deal with this, probably 10 times a year.”
He continued, “So in my career in this position, over 80 times.”
O’Keefe observed: “Perhaps the real change could begin with the unions and a culture that seems to say, ‘protect teachers no matter what, even if students are getting, hurt.”
In New Jersey, both union presidents – David Perry of Hamilton, New Jersey, and Kathleen Valencia of Union City, New Jersey – were suspended by the school and resigned from the union.
The fourth video showed a teacher’s union official in Michigan advising an undercover journalist posing as a teacher not to report injuring a student in class.
“This is a tough one because, if we report it you’re gonna get investigated. And I don’t want you to get investigated,” states Nick Nugent, executive director of the Michigan Education Association’s South Oakland District’s association office.
The fourth video:
The third reveals how the union negotiated a $50,000 payout to a teacher who was accused of – but never charged with – sexual misconduct with a child.
The teacher’s identity has been withheld because there were no charges and he denied the accusations.
But the Michigan ATF went to court repeatedly to suppress the video, O’Keefe said. The judge ruled twice in favor of Project Veritas.
The accusations were that the teacher, who had been dating the mother of the student, then about 7 or 8 years old, had come into the child’s room at night and tried to remove her underwear, the video reveals.
Project Veritas reported Democrats in New Jersey and Gov. Phil Murphy now want hearings to investigate the practices of the New Jersey Education Association.
Valencia said: “This file right here is from a teacher who had sex with a student. This file is about whether or not the teacher gets to keep his pension. Is he going to jail? No. How come? Because the child’s not pressing charges. There’s no proof.”
The video of Valencia:
The first video: