On Friday, the Michigan chapter of the American Federation of Teachers filed for an emergency motion for temporary injunction in a federal district court in Detroit to prevent the release of any documents or video that Project Veritas has obtained about the union. The motion came after the release of two undercover videos of New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) officials that led to suspensions of Dr. David Perry, President of the Hamilton Township Education Association, and Kathleen Valencia, President of the Union City Education Association.
AFT Michigan is claiming that “Project Veritas has posted YouTube videos broadcasting to the world its admission of illegal activity in Michigan and a promise to release the material it unlawfully obtained next week.”
James O’Keefe, president and founder of Project Veritas, replied, “Project Veritas does not engage in illegal activities – we follow both the letter and the spirit of the law. This is clearly just an attempt to hide their dirty laundry and protect themselves from what we uncovered: but at the expense of who?”
In a separate letter, O’Keefe wrote, “That isn’t to say we won’t publish any of our news report videos regarding AFT. We’ll do everything we can to get that information out there because we believe that it is of national public interest. AFT may not want you to know what we’ve discovered about them, but I’m sure parents in Michigan do.“
This is not the first time AFT Michigan has sought to stop Project Veritas. In 2017, AFT Michigan requested a temporary restraining order on Project Veritas. That motion was later denied by U.S. District Judge Linda V. Parker of the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, and the prior Temporary Restraining Order was removed.
According to Project Veritas, AFT Michigan wants to prevent the publication of Project Veritas videos. O’Keefe said, according to a release, “You would hope that an organization ostensibly committed to improving the quality of schooling for children and parents would want to weed out bad actor-teachers in their organization. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The American Federation of Teachers is currently seeking an emergency injunction in the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to prevent the publication of our investigative reporting – again.”
In the undercover videos released this week by Project Veritas, revealed the officials of the New Jersey Education Association explaining how they would help cover up the physical abuse of students by teachers. According to Project Veritas, those officials also commented on how they have protected teachers in the past who have sexually abused students, who were illegal drug offenders, and who have shoplifted. Both of those NJEA union presidents were suspended by their respective school districts. The NJEA said that as a result of the publication of the Project Veritas videos, it is now reviewing their internal practices to ensure better ones in the future.
According to O'Keefe, “It appears that a similar outcome in Michigan is the last thing that AFT wants given their desire to stop the publication of our reporting…. That isn’t to say we won’t publish any of our materials regarding AFT. We’ll do everything we can to get that information out there because we believe that it is of national public interest. AFT may not want you to know what we’ve discovered about them, but I’m sure parents in Michigan do.”