Schepisi calls on Murphy to halt NJEA’s logging of student, family vaccination info in political advocacy app

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After it was revealed that national teachers’ unions have been training and instructing New Jersey teachers to log the personal health information of students and their families in a progressive organization’s campaign app, Senator Holly Schepisi called for an investigation and urged the Murphy administration to prohibit the invasive practice.

“New Jerseyans might be surprised to hear that teachers are being told to engage students and parents in private conversations about their health and COVID-19 vaccination status and to log what they learn in a campaign-style tracking app run by a progressive advocacy group,” said Schepisi (R-39). “Unbelievably, that’s exactly what’s happening, as I’ve been told by concerned teachers. It’s a gross invasion of privacy that Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Education should prohibit immediately.”

A report by Shore News Network today detailed the efforts of Made to Save, an initiative of a left-wing advocacy organization, to partner with the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to train classroom teachers to have conversations about COVID-19 vaccines with students and parents.

Teachers are then instructed by the NEA and AFT training to log the conversations in Reach, a progressive tracking app developed for the congressional campaign of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

Related: NJEA Training Instructs Teachers To Tell Children They Can Get Back To Being Kids Again After Everyone Is Vaccinated

Parents were never given the opportunity to consent to the data sharing or to opt-out of having their private conversations and health information logged for use by a left-wing organization that works to advance one political party’s agenda.

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“It’s not surprising that teachers are telling us they’re afraid of violating the trust of parents, as their unions are instructing them to do,” said Schepisi. “They understand the responsibility they have to be discrete with our private lives, which they often hear our kids discuss in embarrassing detail in their classrooms. It’s imperative that the Murphy administration act now to protect the integrity of teachers who are being put in a terribly compromising position by their unions. Further, parents deserve to know exactly what information was logged about them.”

Schepisi called for the New Jersey Department of Education to investigate the scope of the data collection, including whether it has been employed previously, and to identify impacted families and let them know exactly what information was shared without their knowledge or consent.

Additionally, to ensure that the trust of teachers and the privacy of families aren’t put at risk, Schepisi urged the Murphy administration to use its rule-making authority to prohibit teachers and other school officials from logging information about students and their families in third-party apps without the express consent of parents.

The senator will introduce legislation to make such a prohibition permanent in state law.

Even without the explicit prohibition, Schepisi warned that the shady data collection practice could violate existing campaign and ethics laws.

“It certainly looks like taxpayer-funded teachers are being tasked with collecting sensitive data that could be used by Democratic political campaigns to target voters in the future,” added Schepisi. “As they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Teachers should be careful they’re not the ones who get burned by union leadership who are playing politics at their expense.”

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