Some New York teachers were unhappy with the head of United Federations of Teachers union Michael Mulgrew’s “public support of Rev. Al Sharpton’s march on August 23 to call for justice for the death of Garner, 43″ and decided to show their support for the NYPD. In several schools, including IS 72 on Staten Island and PS 220 in Queens, teachers showed up wearing “THIS TEACHER SUPPORTS OUR COPS!!” and “New York’s Brightest Support New York’s Finest” t-shirts on the first week of class, despite being warned by the Department of Education that they are to remain neutral as public servants.
The NAACP has brought up concerns during a Community Education Council meeting, citing complaints from parents who said the protests left them feeling “ostracized” and “intimidated,” DNAinfo reports.
“Many parents of color have reached out to me about the silent protest, some of the people that I know across the city that were working for the [Department of Education] have been offended,” said Tammy Greer Brown, of the Staten Island NAACP, who brought up the group’s concerns at a Community Education Council meeting Monday night.
“People of color have been afraid to say anything about this for fear of retaliation and others have been ostracized for their stand on supporting the march.”
Debra Penny, of the United Federation of Teachers, said in an email that teachers and union members should strive to avoid conflict over the issue. “We did what we could and we certainly will go to schools and talk [about Garner],” she wrote.