Fact Check: Does California Teachers Union President Send Own Child to In-Person School?

As COVID-19 vaccine rollouts continue across the country, students and parents are eager to return to in-person learning.

In Berkeley, California, negotiations between the school district and the teachers union have caused frustration among parents.

The Claim

On February 27, a group called Guerilla Momz posted a video of Berkeley Federation of Teachers (BFT) President Matt Meyer taking his daughter to in-person preschool. The video was taken on February 18.

"Meet Matt Meyer. White man with dreads and president of the local teachers' union. He's been saying it is unsafe for *your kid* to be back at school, all the while dropping his kid off at private school," the group said on Twitter.

Meet Matt Meyer. White man with dreads and president of the local teachers' union. He's been saying it is unsafe for *your kid* to be back at school, all the while dropping his kid off at private school:https://t.co/BAIR5xH8LY#OpenSchoolsNow

— guerillaMomz (@GuerillaMomz) February 28, 2021

Guerilla Momz is a group of "angry mothers" who want Berkeley schools to immediately return to in-person learning five days a week. "Berkeley children's right to a free public education have been violated for a year," the group told Newsweek.

Meyer and the BFT have pushed for stricter requirements in order for students and teachers to return to the classroom.

UPDATE: Parent groups are crying "hypocrisy" after a video shows the president of the Berkeley teachers union dropping off his daughter at an in-person preschool.

The union has pushed for in-person learning to return once vaccination is widespread.https://t.co/BWPXYxc3x5

— Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez (@FitzTheReporter) February 28, 2021

"Meyer has said for months it is not safe to open schools, all the while taking his own child to school," Guerrilla Momz told Newsweek. "He also told the school board meeting, based on his own experience as a teacher, kids would not wear masks. Meanwhile, his own 2 year old was wearing a mask at school, and complying, because it is a requirement of the school his kid attends."

Many online called Meyer a hypocrite for perpetuating a "double standard" by sending his child to school after arguing it was unsafe for Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) students to return in-person.

They closed your kid’s school. But sent their kids to a school that was open.

There’s always a double standard. https://t.co/iTlHhetaHT

— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) March 1, 2021

The Facts

In a statement to Newsweek, Meyer said that his 2-year-old daughter attends a private preschool because there are no public options for children her age.

According to Berkeley Unified School District spokesperson Trish McDermott, a student must be 2 years, 9 months old by September of the school year to attend a BUSD preschool. Meyer said his daughter started her preschool in August.

"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.

Meyer cites class sizes, the ability to be outside, teacher-to-student ratio and the lack of mixing of adults or students as main differences in COVID-19 safety precautions between his daughter's preschool and what BUSD schools have or will have in place.

"We all want a safe return to school," he added. "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."

The BFT told the BUSD last month that teachers would be prepared to return to school if they receive the COVID-19 vaccines.

A tentative agreement would send students back to the classroom by grade starting March 29. The return dates are contingent upon district employees receiving the vaccine and could be pushed back if vaccine distribution is delayed.

The Ruling


Matt Meyer does send his daughter to a private preschool.

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School reopening California
California Governor Gavin Newsom said Friday teachers statewide will be able to begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines starting in March. In the photo above, students sit with their laptop computers at St. Joseph Catholic School in La Puente, California on November 16, 2020, where pre-kindergarten to Second Grade students in need of special services returned to the classroom for in-person instruction. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
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