NJ Politics Digest: Videos of Teachers’ Union Officials Lead to Senate Hearings

Steve Sweeney.

Steve Sweeney. Kevin B. Sanders for Observer

The release last week of hidden-camera videos allegedly showing teachers’ union officials bragging about how they protect teachers accused of wrongdoing is prompting action from the state Senate.

Senate President Steve Sweeney on Monday said the senate’s education and labor committees would hold hearings into the videos by by the conservative nonprofit organization Project Veritas.

The videos appear to show union officials from Union City and Hamilton Township discussing strategies they use to protect members of the union for alleged infractions that include having sex with students and physical assaults. Both officials were suspended following release of the videos.

 

“When we find problems, we fix problems. And unfortunately that was an eye-opening experience watching those videos of people bragging about the behavior that was taking place,” Sweeney said, according to a report by radio station NJ101.5.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday said he support’s Sweeney’s call for hearings but also warned that Project Veritas is known for selectively editing videos.

“On the one hand, this guy’s very famous for selective editing. So I’d like to see the whole tape,” Murphy said, according to the radio station. “On the other hand, if it’s true, it’s completely unforgivable and unacceptable, what was said on that.”

The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) has said it’s conducting its own investigation into the videos and “welcomes the opportunity to discuss these important issues further with legislators.”

The NJEA and Sweeney have been feuding since the senate president reached a deal with Gov. Chris Christie that resulted in union benefits being reduced. The union last year spent $5 million supporting Sweeney’s Republican rival in the November election.

Quote of the Day: “Obviously, someone has found a way to game the system, so we have to understand the system to correct it so they can’t game it.” — Sen. President Steve Sweeney, announcing a joint hearing of the Senate education and labor committees on hidden-camera videos by Project Veritas allegedly showing local teachers’ union officials discussing how they protect teachers accused of wrongdoing.

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NJ Politics Digest: Videos of Teachers’ Union Officials Lead to Senate Hearings