|Now if only they’d all vote Mulgrew out!|
The recent Anti-NYPD march in August caused even more controversy when UFT president Michael Mulgrew decided – without a membership vote – to have the UFT support this march. This led to many teachers outraged by their union president sidling up to Rev. Al Sharpton to march against police officers and fellow union members. Those same teachers across New York City decided to support the NYPD as a protest by wearing pro-police t-shirts on the first day of school.
However, some teachers were bullied by their own union the night before school started with an email warning them to not wear “inappropriate apparel” such as “certain t-shirt messages may appear to be supportive, but individuals (parents, students) may see a different meaning in that message.” The UFT memo went on to say that “Principals may report any inappropriate apparel to the chancellor.”
What message are the UFT officials talking about? Independent thought?
So it’s OK to march with Rev. Al on an issue having nothing to do with education, but it’s wrong for teachers to exercise their First Amendment right of free speech?
Nevertheless, many teachers denied this warning and wore t-shirts supportive of the NYPD and thankful for their service and protection. Many posted pictures of their support to a Facebook page titled, “Thank you, NYPD.”
PBA President Pat Lynch blasted the inappropriate “scare tactic” slamming the UFT president, “Who by the way needs to go, for misusing members dues of supporting anti-police issues.” Sergeant Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins was proud of the teachers standing up to their union president. “Mulgrew is a hypocrite for being an activist,” he said, “but now teachers want to be activists and he doesn’t agree with them.”
Surprisingly, Mayor Bill de Blasio stepped into this feud between the UFT and NYPD telling reporters that, “Teachers have a right to free expression.” But while neither he nor Chancellor Farina saw no problem with the show of support, de Blasio turned wishy-washy by adding that, “Unions can communicate with their members as they see fit.”
Bravo to the teachers for standing up for what is right and not backing down to the likes of their UFT president! It’s a shame that Mulgrew sees things so one-sided and is against his own teachers for expressing their rights as individuals. Look at the hypocrisy. Mulgrew stated that his union, “…encourages all of our 200,000 members to express their opinions, but Department of Education regulations require school personnel to avoid distracting clothes and openly political statement when in school.” Funny how the same union didn’t mind teachers making a political statement by marching with the likes of Rev. Al Sharpton. I wonder if they wore a t-shirt with Mulgrew and Rev. Al marching arm in arm if he’d be just as upset.
Bottom line, Mulgrew does not want teachers to exercise their First Amendment rights when they want to, he only wants them to when he tells them when and what to say.