A conservative education news and policy group was hit with a Twitter suspension last week after a teachers union board member reported the account. Critics say it’s one more example of teachers unions’ coordinated efforts to silence opposition.
The Chalkboard Review, a conservative-leaning website that publishes articles on education, received the suspension after a regional board member of the National Education Association reported the account for a violation of Twitter rules. A spokesperson from Twitter said the account was permanently suspended for violating rules on “ban evasion.” However, Twitter eventually restored the account last Friday without explanation.
Though the impetus for suspension was initially unclear, evidence of the NEA’s involvement quickly emerged. In a tweet, Emilie McKiernan, a director on a regional board of the NEA, proudly announced that she reported the account. After a backlash, she deleted the tweet.
Chalkboard Review Co-Founder and Executive Director Tony Kinnett posted an encapsulation of the incident on Twitter, including a screenshot of the deleted tweet. He summarized the ordeal by saying, “Teachers unions are attempting to silence ideological diversity.”
There you have it. The suspension of @ChalkboardRev was a coordinated attack by @NEAToday.
Teachers unions are attempting to silence ideological diversity. pic.twitter.com/qiS10wcPmL
— Governor Dr. Tony Kinnett of Indiana, M.A.Ed's (@TheTonus) February 4, 2022
Kinnett asserts that his company has not violated any of Twitter’s rules. Chalkboard Review received notice of the suspension on Thursday, but by Friday afternoon, received another that said, “After further review, we have unsuspended your account as it does not appear to be in violation of the Twitter rules. Your account is now unsuspended. We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience.”
“There is no tweet that they have cited. There is no account activity that they have suggested of any shape or sort that has caused us, that would cause us to be banned,” Kinnett told one reporter. “Their statement saying that … avoiding being banned is what got us [suspended] makes no sense whatsoever. Again, we’ve seen no evidence of it.”
Twitter also suspended two members of Kinnett’s staff with no explanation. Kinnett maintains that the two have never violated rules or received any sort of warning. After multiple attempts to get them reinstated, the accounts were eventually restored.
Now @QuinnWeimer is back!
Thank you everyone for your support, and your contacting @Twitter repeatedly. @TwitterSupport, thank you for reviewing our cases and making the right call, though we'd still like to know what/who initially caused you to pull down all of our accounts. https://t.co/waQIGdSo39
— Governor Dr. Tony Kinnett of Indiana, M.A.Ed's (@TheTonus) February 8, 2022
The suspicion of union coordination comes after the NEA attempted to persuade social media giants to silence voices supporting transparency in education, opposition to CRT, and parental choice last year. Right after the National School Boards Association’s “Domestic Terrorist” letter, the NEA sent a similarly themed letter to major social media platforms, calling on them to “stifle propaganda” about CRT that supposedly empowered “a small but violent group of radicalized parents.” Critics suggested that the NEA’s letter reveals coordination between the current administration and special interest groups.
The NEA has promised to research CRT opponents and lobby social media companies to “help put an end to the stream of propaganda fueling violence against our educators in our communities,” as it said in their letter.
According to Kinnett, “the NEA is desperately in love with critical race theory. They’ve said it very openly and they demand groups like Twitter, other social media platforms to remove us. They’ve demanded that anyone that is basically pushing what they consider anti-CRT propaganda to be removed from their platform.”
Lyndsey Fifield, social media manager for The Heritage Foundation, likened the suspension to censorship. “The pattern of Big Tech censorship is abundantly clear. Twitter’s suspension of Chalkboard Review is particularly egregious and just the latest reason why so many Americans are fed up,” she said. “Fortunately, Twitter users came together and applied pressure to force the company to reverse its decision.”