Berkeley teachers’ union president caught dropping off kid at in-person private school despite fighting against reopening schools

News & Politics

Matt Meyer is the president of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, the union that represents public educators in the notoriously liberal city, and has staunchly fought against reopening schools until all teachers have received the coronavirus vaccine.

But that has not stopped Meyer from taking his own daughter to a private school operating in person.

What happened?

Berkeley parents angry over their children being stuck in distance learning — despite guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say schools can safely reopen without every teacher having received the COVID vaccine — followed Meyer, camera in hand, to catch the union president in stunning hypocrisy.

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Hypocrisy: Matt Meyer Berkeley Federation of Teachers President

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The parents caught Meyer dropping off his 2-year-old daughter at a private preschool that is operating with in-person instruction, KQED-TV reported.

Dr. Shelene Stine — who has one child that attends the same private preschool as Meyer’s daughter and an older child in the Berkeley Unified School District — blasted Meyer for taking his daughter to a private, in-person school despite supporting the continued closure of public schools.

“I am a physician. It is definitively the scientific agreement that it is possible to deliver safe in-person education,” Stine told KQED. “It’s infuriating to know Matt Meyer says kids can’t wear masks when kids in his preschool wear them all day long.”

Jonathan Zachreson, the founder of Reopen California Schools, told KQED Meyer’s action were clear hypocrisy.

“It’s completely opposite of what he’s pushing,” Zachreson said. “So why is that safe for him and those people who work there [at the preschool], but not for all of the kids in Berkeley Unified and the teachers? The answer is: It is safe.”

How did Meyer respond?

The union president responded to critics by citing his “personal choice” to send his daughter to the school of his choice.

“I have my two-year-old in preschool. Unfortunately, there are not public schools for kids her age,” Meyer told KQED on Sunday.

Meyer also claimed that preschools like the one his daughter attends are “completely different universe from an elementary school in terms of size, services provided, outside space, and public health guidelines. I don’t have elementary school-aged children.”

When will Berkeley schools reopen?

Berkeley public schools have been shut down for in-person learning since the pandemic began last spring.

That will finally change this month after the Berkeley teachers’ union reached an agreement with the Berkeley Unified School District.

“Students in preschool through second grade would return to class on March 29, according to the agreement. Those in grades 3 through 9 would return on April 12. High schoolers in grades 10 through 12 would return on April 19,” Berkeleyside reported.

Part of the reopening plan includes mass vaccinations for Berkeley Unified School District employees.

Ironically, Meyer, before being caught taking his daughter to an in-person school, called the plan the “gold standard” and the “safest” option for students.

“This plan is the Gold Standard,” Meyer said. “Social distancing, mask-wearing, and vaccinations for adults will create the safest environment for in-person education for the end of this year.”

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