California Educator

April/May 2023

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 35 of 61

Protecting Yourself and Others from Hidden Cameras • If you are approached by someone at a CTA event and it feels weird or suspicious, end the conversation immediately and report the incident to conference staff. • Make sure people are who they say they are. These operatives use false identities and made-up stories to gain confidence/ access and exploit trust. At conferences, all members and attendees wear badges — if someone does not have one, do not assume they are a trusted conference attendee. Badge or not, end any conversation that makes you uncomfortable. • Look out for each other. If you see a fellow member talking to someone suspicious, interrupt the conversation and ask to speak to them privately. • If you encounter one operative, assume there is a second — they often work in pairs. • Be wary of anyone who asks you to help them gain access to a CTA event or workshop for any reason. • Be mindful of your surroundings after hours and outside of conference sessions, where operatives lurk to build confidence and secretly record conversations. • Trust your instincts and report any suspicious encounters or situations to leadership and/or staff immediately. has a lengthy history of targeting teachers unions and educators across the country in its smear campaigns, including infiltration and gotcha videos, in an attempt to foment distrust in public education systems and spark culture wars in schools nationwide. Project Veritas targeted a Natomas teacher in 2021, posing as a parent and asking to meet for coffee while secretly recording the conversation. e deceptively edited video package was designed to create a chaotic and dangerous situation, and it did — resulting in the teacher receiving death threats, being harassed at his home, and ultimately having to leave the district. Project Veritas is a multimillion-dollar disinformation and propaganda machine. While most of its donors have not been publicly disclosed, the Koch-related DonorsTrust (called the "dark money ATM of the conservative right") contributed more than $8.4 million from 2014-18 (according to the Center for Media and Democracy). Since its founding in 2010, Project Veritas and its employees have been found guilty of multiple crimes and paid fines and sums to settle lawsuits related to their deceptive prac- tices (list on Last year, the FBI searched the homes of Project Veritas employees including O'Keefe as part of a U.S. Justice Department investigation into the theft and publication of the diary of Ashley Biden, a daughter of President Joe Biden. And in February, O'Keefe was placed on leave by the Project Veritas board due to his poor treatment of staff and "financial malfeasance." Please be aware that Project Veritas and similar disinformation operatives may be lurking at our conferences — be wary of anyone you don't know who approaches you and starts asking questions, especially about social justice and related issues. In conjunction with NEA, CTA leaders and staff will continue to be vigilant at our meetings and gatherings to ensure they are safe spaces for members to build and learn together. Visit for information about the orga- nization, including photos of their known operatives. Congratulations! Two CTA member leaders were recently elected by NEA board members as delegates to Education International (EI), the Global Union Federation that comprises 383 member organizations, including NEA. EI represents more than 32 million teachers and education support personnel in 178 countries and territories. MARITZA ÁVILA, Oxnard Educators Association, CTA State Council delegate and NEA Board Director TARA JEANE, West Placer Teachers Association, NEA Board Director, Sacramento City School Board member Maritza Ávila and Tara Jeane 34 Advocacy

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - April/May 2023