A California parent group is calling out the hypocrisy of the Berkeley teachers union President after he was seen dropping his child off for in-person instruction despite deeming in-person schooling as “unsafe.”
Matt Meyer, president of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, has said Berkeley schools should only reopen for in-person learning when educators are vaccinated and it is considered “safe.”
Guerilla Momz, a parent group advocating for the re-opening of public schools in Berkeley, Ca, uploaded a YouTube video showing Meyer dropping his daughter off for in-person learning at a private school in Berkeley.
In a statement to Fox News, Meyer said that there were “no public options for kids her age.”
“There are major differences in running a small preschool and a 10,000 student public school district in terms of size, facilities, public health guidance and services that legally have to be provided,” Meyer said to Fox News. “We all want a safe return to school. The Berkeley Federation of Teachers is excited that Berkeley Unified will be reopening soon with a plan, supported by our members and the district, to get our students back in classrooms starting later this month.”
According to Berkeleyside, the Berkeley Unified School District has reached a tentative agreement with the Berkeley Federation of Teachers to reopen public schools this spring, once district staff members are vaccinated.
The district is also coordinating a series of mass vaccination events for employees beginning February 22nd.
“This plan is the gold standard,” Meyer said, according to Berkeleyside. “Social distancing, mask-wearing, and vaccinations for adults will create the safest environment for in-person education for the end of this year.”
The Guerilla Momz group argued that the public schools have been blocked from re-opening for a year.
“The only thing keeping our schools closed is cowardice – and union donations to politicians,” Guerilla Momz said.
“[Matt Meyer] takes his child to private school every weekday while blocking Berkeley from opening schools because it is not safe.”
“Meanwhile, our children are suffering learning loss, social isolation, and mental health breakdowns.”
“Open our public schools now. Full time. In person,” Guerilla Momz demands. “Not just for your child. For every child.”
Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy
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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”
Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.
Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.
At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.
“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”
“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”
This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”
During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.
“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”
“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”
Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.
Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.
“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”
Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.
“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”
He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.
Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”
“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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