In response to a decision made by their union to stand with organizations calling for justice for Eric Garner, who was killed by an NYPD chokehold, a group of New York City schoolteachers moved last week to show their support for the NYPD in the classroom.
One image, culled by the New York Post from Facebook, shows a group of teachers from PS 220 in Queens posing in a classroom — all donned in gray NYPD shirts, reportedly, supplied by a teacher whose boyfriend is a police officer with the department.
“The [United Federation of Teachers] contract specifically says there is no dress code. They can’t tell us what to wear,” one teacher told The Post. Read more:
Many teachers had worn the shirts to school Tuesday and Wednesday as a show of support for cops in the wake of the Eric Garner death and union-backed rally by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
But they were warned by a United Federation of Teachers official in an email late Wednesday that, “as public employees, one must remain objective at all times. Certain T-shirt messages may appear to be supportive, but individuals (parents, students) may see a different meaning in that message.”
The memo also raised the specter of “potential implications” career-wise, noting: “Principals may report any inappropriate apparel to the chancellor.”
A Staten Island teaching assistant told The Post she got a phone call directly from her principal Wednesday night “telling me not to wear the shirt, as per the UFT.”
The threatening messages scared many teachers from wearing their shirts on Thursday.
But a handful of teachers defied the warning, most notably at IS 72 on Staten Island — which is named after slain cop Rocco Laurie, sources said.
Other teachers across the city posted photos of themselves in pro-cop attire on a Facebook page titled “Thank you, NYPD.” The rest of the story.
A spokesman for the Department of Education told The Post, “Anything that distracts or disrupts learning should be left out of school buildings.” What do you think?