New York Post
September 5, 2014

 

Mayor, schools boss: Teachers’ pro-NYPD shirts are OK


By Shawn Cohen and Rebecca Harshbarger

Photo: Getty Images
Mayor de Blasio — visiting a second-grade Spanish class on Thursday — has said there's no problem with teachers like Anna Belfiore Delfaus (left) showing their support of the NYPD.

The teachers union is losing the police T-shirt war.

Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña on Friday denied there was any regulation barring teachers from wearing pro-NYPD T-shirts to school — countering the union’s claim that such a rule existed.

“Every individual in our society has a right to make their own decision about how they want to express themselves. And every union has a right to communicate with their own members,” de Blasio said, referring to a memo sent out by the United Federation of Teachers that told members they could be disciplined for wearing NYPD apparel to school.

“I honor the NYPD every day … I think people appreciate the NYPD in this city. But as to how you should comport yourself at your workplace, and the individual choice you make, that’s up to the individual,” the mayor added.

Fariña said she didn’t tell anyone not to wear NYPD shirts.

“Common sense trumps all. This is one issue principals should decide on a school-by-school basis,” she said.

The UFT memo had said that the Department of Education sent word that teachers “must remain objective at all times” and that “principals may report any inappropriate apparel to the chancellor.”

Angry that the UFT co-sponsored last month’s Staten Island march against police brutality, some teachers donned NYPD T-shirts when schools opened this week.

On Friday, de Blasio dismissed talk of a feud between teachers and cops as a “media fabrication.”

But police-union head Pat Lynch slammed UFT chief Mike Mulgrew for using “scare tactics” to discourage teachers from making any display of support for cops.

“What could be inappropriate about showing support for the Police Department that protects teachers and students alike?” Lynch said.

He vowed to “never forget” that Mulgrew turned his back on cops by joining the Al Sharpton rally.

Mulgrew defended the union’s role in the protest.

“We encourage all our 200,000 members to express their opinions. But Department of Education regulations require school personnel to avoid distracting clothes and openly political statements when in school,”he said.

“The Eric Garner march was a teachable moment for all New Yorkers, but the lesson seems to have been lost on Mr. Lynch.”

Additional reporting by Aaron Short