CFT and BFT Respond to  BUSD Superintendent’s Testimony Before Congressional Committee

News Release Media Contact

BERKELEY, CA – CFT President Jeff Freitas and Berkeley Federation of Teachers President Matt Meyer released the following statement following the testimony of Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Enikia Ford Morthel before a hearing of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce earlier today in Washington, D.C. The hearing was called to discuss antisemitism in our schools:

“We applaud BUSD Superintendent Enikia Ford Morthel for her testimony today before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Her strength and resolve is a testament to the leadership she brings to Berkeley’s public schools. 

“During her testimony Superintendent Ford Morthel clearly and calmly detailed how the Berkeley Unified School District takes all allegations of antisemitism and other forms of hate seriously. She was able to do so in a sometimes combative environment, where some of the members of the committee were attempting to score political points and create division within our communities.

“We condemn antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Arab hate and violence of all kinds. Discrimination and prejudice have no place in our schools. Any allegations of such should be carefully investigated by school districts. We believe Superintendent Ford Morthel and District staff are conducting a thorough investigation and are handling these allegations in an appropriate manner.

“We are deeply concerned that the current political environment is having a corrosive effect on our learning communities, hurting our students and many of our educators. It is taking an incredible toll on the mental health of our school communities, and is having a chilling effect on our classrooms, where some teachers are deciding not to teach age-appropriate, factual lessons about a global conflict for fear of being harassed. 

“Some teachers have been surveilled, doxxed, and subject to ongoing harassment both publicly and privately for their decision to incorporate lessons about the war in Gaza into their classroom. This is a grave disservice to our students, who need us to be there for them and help navigate the reality of the world around them.

“We will continue to vigorously defend our teachers’ ability to teach about controversial subjects. Our goal is always to equip students with the tools and critical thinking skills they will need to understand and navigate the broader world.

“This is a fraught time in our country and our public schools. The answer is not to turn away from difficult conversations in our schools and classrooms, but to provide a safe space for our students to learn how to process these difficult topics.”


CFT – A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT.