The presidents of two New Jersey teachers’ unions have been suspended following the release of videos in which the officials offered to lie to protect abusive school teachers and protected a teacher that had sex with a student, The Washington Free Beacon reports.
Hamilton Township Education Association President David Perry and Union City Education Association President Kathleen Valencia made the comments separately to undercover agents with Project Veritas, a conservative activist group known for its controversial sting operations.
The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) announced in a statement it was conducting a review of its local affiliates and members in wake of the videos’ release.
“NJEA does not, in any instance, condone the abuse or mistreatment of children or the failure to properly report allegations of abuse,” NJEA said. “To ensure that appropriate practices are followed, we are commissioning an independent review of the practices of our local affiliates and staff. The purpose of that review is to ensure that every staff member and local affiliate leader understands and clearly communicates the responsibility of all school employees to report any suspected abuse of children.”
While both Perry and Valencia have been suspended, the NJEA also seemed to prep a defense for the embattled presidents in its statement.
“With regard to the videos recently released, the source of the videos in question deserves careful scrutiny,” NJEA said in a statement. “It is very important to note that the operatives are not speaking about real individuals or incidents. Their false allegations are entirely fabricated for the purpose of creating a false narrative. They then deceptively edit those videos for political purposes, with no regard for truth or honesty.”
While the narratives used by the Veritas operatives were made up, both Perry and Valencia referenced presumably real cases in which they protected teachers who committed crimes. In Velencia’s case, she claimed to have covered up a case of sexual misconduct between a teacher and student.
WATCH: Project Veritas’ sting on Valencia
“This file right here is from a teacher who had sex with a student, OK? You’re not going to jail,” Valencia says in the Veritas video. “This file is about whether or not the teacher gets to keep his pension. Sex with a teenage girl. Is he going to jail? No. How come? Because the child’s not pressing charges.”
“They have no proof there was sex,” Valencia added.
WATCH: Project Veritas’ sting on Perry
“God forbid if a child, and I hate to keep using this, was sexually mistreated and the person came to me and said, ‘Listen, Dave, I made a mistake.’ First of all, I’m going to be pissed off because you don’t do that,” Perry said in the video. “But it’s my job. It’s almost like I’m a priest. It’s my job to protect.”
“The worst teachers in the world, I have defended,” Perry added.
Hamilton Township Superintendent Scott Rocco said in a Wednesday statement that Perry, at least the way he represented himself in the video, does not represent, “the true beliefs and values of this school,” according to NJ.com.
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