CTU leader who vacationed while claiming it’s unsafe to return to school apologizes

WGN Investigates

CHICAGO – The Chicago Teachers Union leader who faced national outrage and ridicule for claiming it’s unsafe to return to school buildings while vacationing in Puerto Rico appears to be apologizing.

Sarah Chambers, who is a CTU area vice president and member of the union’s executive board, faced local and national backlash after WGN Investigates first reported the story Dec. 31.

On Twitter, she urged teachers to refuse to return to classroom while on the same day on Instagram she posted pool pictures and talked of getting seafood in Old San Juan.

“I understand that it was insensitive and wrong of me to go on this trip for winter break and for me to share photos of it at a time when thousands of my union sisters and brothers – and the families we serve – are refraining from travel or making only essential plans outside of the home,” read a post purported to be from Sarah Chambers on an educators forum on Facebook. “I deeply regret my actions and I fully understand why many are upset,” the post read.

The controversy comes at an inopportune time for the Chicago Teachers Union which is threatening to strike if the school district pushes ahead with plans to resume in-person learning. Chambers and the union urged teachers to sign a pledge vowing not to return to school buildings Monday.

Chicago Public Schools is resuming in-person learning for pre-kindergarten and some special education students Jan. 11. Their teachers were told to report to school this week. The district hopes to have Kindergarten through 8th grade students back in the classroom in February.

The post purportedly from Chambers said “in order to show my contrition, and not to be a distraction, I will deactivate all of my social media accounts and step back from the Chicago Teachers Union executive board.”

A union official would not comment on whether Chambers had resigned from her leadership posts or if she was simply taking a brief break. When reached by phone, Chambers hung-up the phone without commenting.

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