The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and ECBAWM today urged the New York City Department of Education (DOE) in a letter to end its investigation into the free speech activities of the Park Slope Collegiate School principal Jill Bloomberg. The DOE is investigating the principal, vice-principal, two teachers, and an aid for allegedly being members of the Progressive Labor Party and for recruiting students to the PLP and to PLP events. The principal alleges that the investigation is in retaliation for her repeated complaints to DOE about the discriminatory allocation of sports teams. The letter explains that principals and teachers do not lose their right to free speech just because they work at a school. Investigators have pulled students out of class to interrogate them without informing parents. Students were asked whether their teachers were communists and were questioned about whether they or their parents had gone to political rallies or meetings. “Investigating students’ and teachers’ political beliefs is offensive and unconstitutional, regardless of what those beliefs are,” said ECBAWM partner Elizabeth S. Saylor, who is representing the parents of a middle school student interrogated without parental consent. “This kind of knock-off McCarthyism is entirely inappropriate. The out-of-control investigation has made students afraid to speak out against segregation and inequality in their schools. This unconstitutional investigation must stop now.”
To read the letter, click here. To read New York Daily News coverage, click here.