David Romick, Dayton Education Association: “in cases of physical contact, I’ve probably deal with this… over 80 times” With Zero Terminations
Teacher Didn’t Apologize for Abuse: “that’s probably a good thing…it’s an admission and we don’t want that right now”
Child Won’t Report Abuse: “It’s like if somebody breaks into your house and steals your weed, you’re not going to report, you know what I mean?”
Tom Schmida, Cleveland Heights Teachers Union: “I could probably lessen the damage around the push [more] than I could the N-word.”
Abuse of “bad kids” Easy to Defend: More Likely To Create “trumped up” Accusations
(Ohio) Project Veritas has released undercover video of Bill Siegferth, Tom Schmida, and David Romick – all current or former teachers union presidents –admitting that they have protected and defended union members that have abused students.
The videos were filmed on April 25, 2018 in offices all across Ohio. Siegferth, a former president and current consultant for the NEA-affiliated Akron Education Association, states that the unions have defended all sorts of abuse:
“This is not new I mean I’ve had teachers in physical altercations with kids, sexual altercations with kids, verbal altercations with kids, violating the professional standards rules and other ways that don’t involve kids and it’s, s**t happens. You know?”
Siegferth assures the undercover journalist that he will not report any abuse he discovers during their conversation:
Siegferth: “You know I have an obligation to him as a union rep, I’m not going to turn around and call the schools and call CSB (Children’s Services Board) and say this guy… I have reason to believe he abused a kid. If that’s a concern. I don’t even know if you guys have thought of that. But that’s not going to happen.”
Journalist: “It’s definitely a concern.”
Siegferth: “But from here that would not be the case.”
Journalist: “So, if he came in and told you the story about smacking a kid and getting his nose bloodied and cleaning him up and sending him home saying, you know, keep your mouth shut you would not report that?”
Siegferth: “Oh no, no, no.”
Siegferth: “…we’re not going to turn around as soon as they leave and call HR and say hey Joe Smith was just in here, he f***ed up some kid at his school, and gave them a bloody nose. No, we don’t do that.”
This was not an isolated incident. On the same day in the AFT-affiliated Cleveland Heights Teachers Union, former union president and current consultant to the president Tom Schmida met with an undercover journalist as well.
The journalist explains to Schmida that a teacher may have “injured” a student. After learning that the teacher hadn’t apologized to the student, Schmida says “Ok, that’s probably a good thing.” He continues:
“At this point now, the only concern would be that if he did apologize to the kid…it’s an admission and we don’t want that right now.”
When asked what would happen if the teacher used the N-word, Schmida explained “I could probably lessen the damage around the push [more] than I could the N-word.”
The union president consultant explains that if the child victim is a “bad kid” it will be easier for him to defend because they are more likely to create “trumped up” accusations:
Schmida: “Is it a good kid, a bad kid?”
Journalist: “I don’t know, he (the teacher) didn’t say.”
Schmida: “By that I mean, somebody who is constantly in trouble, getting disciplined, sent to the office.”
Journalist: “Would that make a difference if it was a bad kid?”
Schmida: “It might, but more so, those kids that are constantly disciplined sometimes are the most likely to accuse a teacher.”
Schmida finally confirms that he doesn’t believe the student will come forward with the assault:
“It’s like if somebody breaks into your house and steals your weed, you’re not going to report, you know what I mean?”
A similar encounter in Dayton, OH occurred when and undercover journalist spoke to David Romick, union president at the NEA-affiliated Dayton Education Association. Romick explains he has dealt with cases of physical contact between a teacher and a student at least eighty times in his career:
Romick: “I’d say, in cases of physical contact, I’ve probably deal with this, remember we have a membership of over 1,000… in 30 schools, I deal with this, probably 10 times a year…”
Romick: “So in my career in this position, over 80 times.”
Journalist: Oh my goodness. And every time the teacher’s been protected?
Romick: “There may be some discipline. There may be a short-term suspension or a letter of reprimand or…”
Journalist: ” Like a letter in the file?”
Romick: “Yeah. Something along those lines… I’ve never had a termination…”
David Romick was honred by President Obama in 2013 at the White House for being a “champion of change.”
Founder and President of Project Veritas James O’Keefe responded to the video: “Perhaps the real change could begin with the unions and a culture that seems to say, ‘protect teachers no matter what, even if students are getting hurt.‘”
Project Veritas also decided to release separate versions of the videos for the press, which give more context to each individual meeting. See the clips:
This is part of a larger nation-wide investigation by Project Veritas into teachers unions. Previous videos exposed two New Jersey Education Association presidents admitting they would “bend the truth” and protect abusive teachers, and Michigan union officials neglecting mandatory reporting of child abuse. Project Veritas also exposed teachers unions in 2017, 2016, and 2011.
The Michigan videos received responses from the MEA, AFT, and GOP candidates for the Gubernatorial race. In New Jersey, both union presidents – Dr. David Perry of Hamilton, NJ and Kathleen Valencia of Union City, NJ – were suspended by the school and resigned from the union. The videos led to bipartisan-supported calls for legislative hearings into the conduct of the NJEA.
About Project Veritas
Project Veritas is a non-profit investigative news organization conducting undercover reporting. Project Veritas investigates and exposes corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions to achieve a more ethical and transparent society. Project Veritas is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.