Randi Weingarten, a major proponent of school lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions, was appointed to the Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council on Wednesday.
“Leaders of our academic institutions and campus life have a great deal to offer in helping us counter the evolving and emerging threats to the homeland,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement announcing the decision.
The council’s specific tasks include advising Mayorkas on research, career development, and partnership opportunities that will help the department “safeguard the American people, and help our country think through and prepare for whatever threats lie ahead,” Mayorkas said.
Weingarten serves as the president of the American Federations of Teachers, the nation’s second-largest teachers union. Emails between AFT officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show Weingarten’s direct influence on COVID-19 procedures in schools, as reported by the New York Post. The AFT provided suggestions and edits to operational strategies for the CDC.
These operational strategies included the suggestion to force children to wear face masks at young ages, even as young as preschool, and keep schools closed throughout the entirety of the 2020-21 school year, locking millions of students out of the classroom.
The emails showed the union thanked the CDC for “responsiveness to the suggestions made by Randi,” and described itself as a “thought partner” in shaping CDC guidelines during the pandemic.
Weingarten’s union began partnering with the CDC after President Joe Biden’s transition team initially reached out to AFT. She admitted to having the direct phone number of then-CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
The Weingarten-CDC coronavirus policies proved detrimental to children. Despite being the demographic at lowest risk for infection, K-12 children reportedly suffered from desocialization, learning loss, depression, and increased likelihood for suicide due to these policies.
The AFT is also responsible for the push to teach critical race theory in schools. Weingarten even stated that her union would support educators teaching CRT against the laws of their state.
Now, Weingarten is on a federal education advisory group.
Mayorkas, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, created the Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council in 2022. Council members advise Mayorkas on campus safety and security measures, hiring, and more.
Fred Lucas contributed to this report.
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