‘It’s pretty violating’: SCUSD parents speak out over student images being used in SEIU labor dispute video

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Parents are accusing the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 of using underhanded tactics in their negotiations.

“It was full of lies and propaganda in my opinion,” parent Julia O’Brien told FOX40 Wednesday.

O’Brien has two children attending Phoebe Hearst Elementary School in East Sacramento. She says she never expected her 2nd grade daughter to make a cameo.

“I didn’t want to be a part of it and they didn’t ask me to use the photo of my daughter,” O’Brien said.

The union did post the picture of her daughter blurred but O’Brien and the Sacramento City Unified School District say others easily identified the child.

O’Brien said she found out about the post on Saturday and asked the union to remove the image of her daughter but it remained on Facebook.

“It felt pretty violating, really, to have my daughter’s picture on this video,” O’Brien said.

The video took aim at the district’s COVID-19 cases, lack of social distancing and reopening plan.

Steve Beckett is also a Phoebe Hearst Elementary School parent. He told FOX40 he believes the union crossed the line when they included O’Brien’s daughter and another student in the video.

He says everyone needs to come together to benefit students.

“Every 18 months there’s been a strike or an almost strike. You wonder what is it with union leadership and the district leadership where it’s just so toxic,” Beckett said.

The Sacramento City Unified School District told FOX40 the union did not have permission from the district to use the images and took it from the school’s website.

The District has received concerns from parents about the video posting and the use of images by SEIU of students and the school mascot to spread misinformation in our community. The images [SEIU] used in the video are the property of the District and were used by SEIU without authorization from the District. District Board Policy 1113, provides that photographs of students shall be used only with written permission from a student’s parent or guardian. Every year, in the Annual Parent and Student Rights Notification Handbook, the District must confirm with parents/guardians the permission to use an image of their student. While [SEIU] attempted to blur the faces of the two students in the photographs [SEIU] used, the students were still identified by school community members. Because SEIU’s video shows images of two of our District students that were taken from our school’s website without permission and contains false and misleading information about COVID cases in the District, we demand that SEIU immediately edit or remove the video.

Tara Gallegos, Chief Communications Officer SCUSD

In a letter sent Sunday, the district demanded the video be taken down.

O’Brien says it’s dangerous for anyone to use tactics involving kids.

“My primary concern is getting these kids, all of our kids, in this district back to school full-time,” O’Brien said.

FOX40 reached out SEIU Local 1021 for comment and they replied with: “We have taken the video down.”

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