A Brooklyn school teacher found himself on the wrong side of his school’s double standard. According to the MS-51 principal, it’s okay for teachers to wear Black Lives Matter and feminist t-shirts, but not t-shirts supporting law enforcement.
According to NY Post, principal Neal Singh told the English as a Second Language teacher, Jeffrey Levy, he cannot wear his “Proud Zionist” shirt while at school. Levy made the shirt himself, which has the Star of David on it. He also was told that Singh received complaints about his “Back the Blue” shirt from students and staffers.
He has filed a discrimination complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Equal Opportunity. Levy’s complaint states, “Singh told me my T-shirt with an Israeli flag on it and the words ‘Proud Zionist’ were ‘politically explosive.'”
Levy added that Singh said, “Zionism involves the retaking of Palestinian land and is ‘offensive.'” However, teachers who have supported other causes have been allowed to wear their t-shirts.
“Singh has permitted other staff to wear attire with ‘Black Lives Matter,’ ‘Feminism is the radical idea that women are people,’ ‘Feminist’ and ‘O’Connor & Ginsburg & Sotomayor & Kagan.’ None of my attire, actions or beliefs endanger the emotional or physical safety of students or staff, which Singh accused me of. … I have conducted myself professionally and have always respected the beliefs of all while doing my job neutrally and without bias. … His attempt to threaten and intimidate me is anti-Semitic.”Jeffrey Levy
However, the DOE agreed with the principal. Spokeswoman Katie O’ Hanlon said, “Schools are not public forums for advancing personal political views, and per Department of Education regulations, employees are prohibited from using schools for the purpose of political expression.” But schools are often the culprit of doing just that, and in public schools, they tend only to punish those they do not agree with.