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Teachers trained to log COVID-19 conversations with parents into progressive app

A National teachers union training walks educators through the process and encouraged them to log conversations with parents about the COVID-19 vaccine into a campaign app built for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘s campaign. 

The guidance has been blasted by teachers, with one calling it a ‘blatant effort to coerce, manipulate, and even track information on students and their parents.’

The recurring virtual training is hosted by vaccine equity group Made to Save and is sponsored by the National Educators Association (NEA), and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). 

It is advertised as a workshop to guide teachers on how to talk to parents and caregivers about the COVID-19 vaccine as children 5-11 may soon be eligible for the shot. 

The training claims to provide educators with ‘basic skills and talking points’ about the vaccine ‘through active listening practices, and tactics on how to reach out to them digitally.’ 

Fox News reviewed the training session which instructed teachers on how to use the progressive Reach app to ‘follow up and track’ their conversations with parents – and even offered ‘gift cards’ for the most active users.

A National teachers training guides educators to log conversations with parents about the COVID-19 vaccine into a progressive campaign app called Reach

The app was created by volunteers during AOC's campaign and received a lot of credit for her underdog win

The app was created by volunteers during AOC’s campaign and received a lot of credit for her underdog win

‘Look up the people you’ve talked to and mark down how your conversations went! Then add them to your Reach network and add their contact info so that you or Made To Save can follow up with them later and help them get vaccinated,’ the training said. 

The workshops are hosted the vaccine equity group, Made to Save. The next session is scheduled for November 4

The workshops are hosted the vaccine equity group, Made to Save. The next session is scheduled for November 4 

Teachers were described as trusted messengers and encouraged to guide parents to vaccinate themselves and their children. 

‘As someone the person already knows and trusts, you can find out what is concerning them about the vaccine, relate on a personal level, and share information to help them on their journey to get vaccinated,’ one slide read. 

‘As an educator or school staff member, you are a trusted messenger for many students. Use these tips to guide your conversations with them and help them stay safe and healthy!’ 

The training also included talking points such as, ‘Do you want me to help you get an appointment?’ and ‘I’m excited to safely see my students and their families!’

The ‘Our Approach’ slide reads, ‘We are NOT telling people what to do or what they should think. We ARE listening to people and responding authentically to their concerns.’

‘You do NOT need to be a healthcare expert to have good conversations,’ the slide continued. ‘To wrap up, help the person make a plan to get vaccinated, or plan to check in later about their concerns.’ 

Teachers are instructed on how to use the Reach app and encouraged to guide parents to vaccinate their families

Teachers are instructed on how to use the Reach app and encouraged to guide parents to vaccinate their families

The slide titled ‘Help Them Find Their Own Reason’ warns educators not ‘tell them what to do or think’ but to help their ‘friends and family find their own reason to get vaccinated.’

The next training is scheduled for November 4, at 4 pm EDT.  

The Reach campaign app was created by Jake DeGroot and Leo Sussan as they volunteered for AOC’s 2018 campaign, and has since become an important tool for grassroots organizing in many Democratic campaigns. 

‘We built Reach for the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez campaign as a tool for ourselves after we realized traditional door-to-door canvassing methods were limiting who we were talking to and when we were able to effectively collect data in the field,’ the About page reads. 

The company is registered as a Public Benefit Corporation meaning that it ‘is a for-profit corporation intended to produce a public benefit and operate in a responsible and sustainable manner.’

Republican New Jersey state Senator Holly Schepisi said the training 'is an unconscionable breach of privacy and ethics'

Republican New Jersey state Senator Holly Schepisi said the training ‘is an unconscionable breach of privacy and ethics’

The use of the Reach app by teachers to conduct and record conversations about COVID-19 has been blasted by critics of the progressive Democrats.

Republican New Jersey state Senator Holly Schepisi told Fox News in an email statement, ‘I strongly support vaccinations and indeed have caught heat for encouraging others to get vaccinated.’

‘However, to put our teachers in the untenable position of using their ‘trust and influence’ over children and their parents to persuade them to make personal medical decisions, and then encourage teachers through gift cards to input the names, addresses and vaccination status of these children and parents into a searchable political progressive database created for and by Congresswoman AOC’s campaign team, is an unconscionable breach of privacy and ethics, it is political canvassing using children’s data and it borders on criminal.’

Jennifer Mess, a drama teacher for the Middletown Township Public Schools (MTPS) in New Jersey also told Fox News that she highly disapproved of the training. 

‘Having the audacity to back this type of presentation shows that the NJEA, NEA, AFT, and any other organization involved clearly does not regard educators as professionals or critical thinkers,’ Mess said in an email statement. 

‘We literally teach our students to be able to look at information critically before making a decision.’

‘This was a blatant effort to coerce, manipulate, and even track information on students and their parents,’ Mess continued. ‘Anyone involved in this type of deception has lost their morals and purpose of education along the way.’


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