Teachers Unions Investigations
YONKERS FEDERATION OF TEACHERS
Project Veritas journalists and James O’Keefe visit with the United Federation of Teachers office in Yonkers to meet with senior union officials to find out what would happen to a teacher who was guilty of abusing a child. Shockingly, our journalists found the union officials willing to engage in a cover up of child abuse and the violation of workplace rules. The officials can even be seen helping the journalist plot a cover up on hidden camera.
In O’Keefe’s video, Paul Diamond, the Executive Vice President for the Yonkers Federation of Teachers was caught on camera helping a PV journalist posing as a teacher who hit a child with covering up the incident. “ I think there are three scenarios that possibly could have occurred. Everybody forgot about it, which sounds like something that happened three weeks ago and nothing is being done about it sounds like it’s been forgotten.”
When O’Keefe and the journalist mention that harm may have been done to the child, the Union official who appeared more concerned with the welfare of the teacher over the child said, “You don’t have to be honest. I mean we can talk in theory… You’re a tenured teacher and you have. Tenured means you can only be dismissed if the board convinced a stranger that they’re right.” Diamond’s actions reveal that the Union itself prioritizes protecting adults over children, which is contrary to the ethical standards of educators. It also reveals a flaw in the system if a teacher can get away with abusing child.
When the Union official made it clear that the hypothetical situation involving child abuse would not get the tenured teacher fired, the PV journalist and O’Keefe decided to take the situation up a notch to see what else the union would be willing to cover up. “I was gone for two weeks,” said O’Keefe.
After asking O’Keefe whether or not he has an explanation for his lengthy absence from work, Diamond takes the issue to Patricia Puleo, President, Yonkers Teacher Federation, who proceeded to provide a number of creative cover-ups for O’Keefe. When O’Keefe mentioned that he went to Mexico for those two weeks, and said he could have a family member there, Puleo shockingly said, “You could. Your parents could have been down there, or your cousin could have been down there, or your brother and they were taken by drug dealers and you literally had to go bail them out and you didn’t know what to do and you lost your mind. You know people lose their mind. It was an emergency. Look, fall on your sword. You are so right I failed in my duty to call in and say I need emergency family medical leave. I failed to do that. The worst they’ll do is deduct you two weeks pay. That’s it.”
In the video, union officials have no problem covering up child abuse and fabricating situations for teachers who probably shouldn’t be teaching. Although the union is supposed to be a representative board for teachers, it has become a tool for covering up malfeasance and its top officials are overseeing the corruption and abuse. Before leaving the union office, the union president had this advice for our journalist and O’Keefe, “You don’t talk to anybody. I don’t care if it’s your best friend. I don’t care if it’s the phys ed teacher you went to high school with, you don’t fucking tell anybody anything…Because old loose lips sink ships.”
YONKERS OFFICIAL'S REACTIONS
NEW JERSEY EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
This second video of the Project Veritas undercover teachers union series shows how some teachers don’t practice what they preach and could potentially get away with drug abuse on campus. While Project Veritas journalists were at the New Jersey Educators Association (NJEA) Conference in 2015 revisiting the unethical stomping ground of the teachers previously featured in James O’Keefe’s “Teachers Gone Wild” undercover series, PV journalists encountered Robert Klein, a middle school gym teacher at Howell Township Middle School in New Jersey.
In O’Keefe’s video, Klein invites PV journalists to his hotel room at the Borgata to party on November 5, 2015. When the journalists encounter Klein, he invites the journalists to snort cocaine with him, and tells the journalists about his drug use as a teacher.
“I am a teacher. I’m not driving around with fucking weed in my car. But I’ll have it delivered to my house. If you come to my home, Like this, you come to my home at night, you come to my room now, I have booze, I have water, I have blow at the house…you know whatever anybody wants I have there, and I don’t mind having it there. Because it’s easy, it’s just one guy who delivers it and drops it off,” said Klein.
After admitting that he does cocaine and smokes marijuana, Klein continued to emphasize how he uses his knowledge from working with drug dogs on the campus of the middle school he teaches at, and how it has taught him how to carry drugs and not get caught. “But if someone says to me, you’ve got to drive over like three towns away from where I live and pick this up, and drive home, I’ll be like no. Like I work with the police in the school district with the drug dogs and they teach us, and they teach our kids how the drug dogs sniff out drugs. No we’re not putting drugs in my car! Blow different. You put it in your pocket, it’s nothing,” said Klein.
When PV journalists suggested that Klein should be careful with his drug use since he is a teacher, he became suspicious and tried to check the journalists for hidden recording devices. “What, look at you two. You got fuckin’ wires on? [teacher grabs PV journalist and pats him down] No look at this guy, he’s got a wire on.”
Klein calmed down and the journalists were not caught, but they were once again offered cocaine from Klein. “Let’s go. Let’s go have drinks. If you want some blow you can have a bump. You can do whatever you want,” said Klein.
After the conference, PV journalists visited Ronald Villano, a New Jersey Education Association official in Klein’s district. The PV journalist suggested that she knew a teacher with a drug problem, without revealing Klein’s name. We wanted to find out whether the union would help the teacher. Surprisingly, the union official was giving advice on how the teacher could avoid being caught with drugs on campus.
To prove the hypocrisy of the physical education and health teacher even more, Project Veritas presented Klein with the New Star Learning “Stay Ahead Award,” for Excellence in Drug Abuse Awareness on April 20, 2016. While accepting his award, Klein had this advice for his students: “Give yourself a natural high instead of doing drugs,” said Klein.
HOWELL TOWNSHIP OFFICIAL'S STATEMENTS
UNITED FEDERATION OF TEACHERS
The third video of the undercover union series shows a continuation of teachers unions and their willingness to cover up child abuse in the workplace. In this third video, other United Federation of Teachers (UFT) representatives across New York echo the same unethical sentiments of the Yonkers and New Jersey officials who were caught on camera.
In James O’Keefe’s video, three interactions with three separate union officials are documented, all of whom encouraged the journalist to cover-up or hide the fact that the teacher hit a child.
As one can see in the video, each time Project Veritas visited a different union representative about the hypothetical situation which involved hitting a child, PV journalists were advised to not worry about it and to keep their mouth shut about what happened. Robert Levine, a UFT representative in Brooklyn told the PV journalist that a tenured teacher will be protected by the union, even if the teacher hit a student.
Like the union officials in Yonkers, Levine further demonstrated and admitted that the union prioritizes protecting teachers over children, even in cases of abuse. Because the union officials are not reporting the malfeasance some teachers admit to them, many teachers could potentially be getting away with child abuse, courtesy of union officials.
As long as nobody rats out the teacher, the teacher has nothing to worry about. Kerry Broderick from White Plains New York said just about the same thing.
“I’ll tell you right now if it’s any of the principals that I can think if I would strongly suggest she just keep her mouth shut, learn her lesson and never do anything like that again,” said Broderick.
In the Bronx, we also found union officials who advised our journalist to stay quiet about the abuse. “So leave it like that. And pray that maybe he’ll never come forward… If the kid says something whatever just keep it secret, I don’t know,” said Eliu Lara, the UFT Bronx High School District Representative.
UNITED TEACHERS OF WICHITA
The fourth video of the undercover teachers union series shows a systemic problem of corruption within the teachers union that extends far beyond New York City. In this fourth video, the President of the United Teachers of Wichita admits to physically assaulting children in the classroom and being protected by the union.
In James O’Keefe’s video, an interaction takes place between several Project Veritas journalists and Steve Wentz, the President of United Teachers of Wichita. Throughout several interactions, Wentz admits to being physically abusive to his students and not caring about the consequences since he is the president of the union.
When Project Veritas journalists first encountered Wentz, it was at the National Council of Urban Education Associations (NCUEA) between June 26-29, 2015 at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista in Buena Vista, FL. The Project Veritas journalist engaged him at the bar where Wentz made a disturbing admission.
When the undercover journalist asked Wentz whether he did this to a student, he said, ““I’ve done this more than once and I said, but I will guarantee you, I will kick your fucking ass.”
Wentz admitted that the union would punish him for his actions if they ever found out, as he even described his actions as “over the line”. However, Project Veritas wanted to find out whether or not Wentz would admit to the same confession he made in Orlando, but while in his role as union president.
A different Project Veritas journalist posed as the uncle of the student who Wentz bragged about threatening and he confronted Wentz in Kansas. The journalist originally planned to confront Wentz at the union office where Wentz was clocked in, but a union employee said that Wentz was at a dentist appointment. When the PV journalist tracked Wentz down, he was at a coffee shop.
When the journalist confronted Wentz about his confession to threatening several students, Wentz denied it, saying, “I have never said that to a kid at school.”
However, when the journalist said that he would be contacting the union or the police, Wentz said, “Okay, go for it. I mean first of all, I’m the president of the union, so…,” suggesting that his position of authority would make him immune to any consequences.
After Wentz continued to deny what he originally said in Orlando, the PV journalist continued to press Wentz, who became increasingly more defensive and argumentative, using profanity and even resorting to threats. “What I say to my kids is my fucking business, Dan. This conversation is over and I tell you what? If you show up again, I’m gonna call the cops.”
WICHITA OFFICIALS STATEMENTS
NEW YORK STATE UNITED TEACHERS
This video by James O'Keefe exposes attorney Mitchell Rubinstein from the New York State United Teachers describing a case in which he defended a teacher he names "Mike," who was alleged to have forced students at knife-point to give him oral sex. The teacher was eventually convinced to resign, but was not convicted and therefore could still be at large.
SAN FRANCISCO UNITED EDUCATORS
This video by James O'Keefe exposes a San Francisco teachers union official admitting that he hit a student. Antonio Mankini of San Francisco United Educators was caught on hidden-camera telling a journalist about his experience with hitting students.
Two Project Veritas journalists went undercover–one posed as a friend of a teacher who hit a student, and the second posed as the teacher himself. When the teacher expressed guilt, Mankini told him not to worry because there was "no evidence."
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