Saturday, June 11, 2011

More on Friday Protests at Lyons School and Lehman HS

I posted pics last night from 2 rallies. Here is a followup from a GEMer who was present on the arrest of a teacher for writing on a mailbox with chalk.
I didn't know who the teacher was.  I was caddy corner so i don't know if he was cuffed, but I think not.  He was taken in a car to the 90th Pct.  The principal immediately went over to the police stattion.  She was out rallying too. Then the head honcho officer spoke with some folks and said he was going to find out what happened and explained the rules of demonstrating to the group that was left.  Many others went to the precinct.  The group was given a warning by a detective who was going around in a car.  They were not blocking the street or traffic.  In fact cars were honking in agreement.  Anyway I think this teacher wrote on the mailbox with chalk and then erased it.  Well they were on him as if he committed a crime.  it seems like harassment.  The head officer seemed to think he was going to be held and then let go.  We will know by Monday what happened unless you have an e-mail of someone from Lyons to inquire.  The group was well organized and calm, but needless to say very upset.  We joined them because the school is across the street from my house. This school could lose quite a few teachers because of the cuts and it would devastate them.

Lehman HS follow-up
Here are some excerpts from a wonderful email from a former student of Fordam's Dr. Mark Naison who was a major speaker at the rally at Lehman. It was her first rally. I've been on a listserve with Mark and he is one powerful voice against Ed Deform and for Real Reform. I really have to start blogging some of his posts.

Hi Dr N

It was good to see you this afternoon at the UFT-organized Rally against Budget Cuts at Lehman HS- The coverage from News 12 Bronx is up online as well -

Although I'm not a NYC public school teacher, it was important to me to attend because of what I learned from your Senior Values Seminar several years ago  - never let others stand alone.  Support isn't about large and grand gestures, but its in the simple human camaraderie of not letting anyone stand up alone-

The most memorable parts of the rally, aside from the much-welcomed passing shower to cool the marchers down, was when a Fire Truck and later a Con Edison Service truck assed by honking their horns! The firemen, who are also facing severe budget cuts, were enthusiastically throwing their hands in the air cheering along with us.  Although I was a bit hesitant at first (since this was my first rally), the longer I marched the more I found it to be "really exciting" as you put it.

You mentioned that there was another rally taking place this afternoon in downtown Brooklyn with public school professionals from all around the borough. Although the size and scope of that rally surpasses the gathering this afternoon at Lehman, what's most impressive was to see the positive response from the community. I don't consider myself to be a social justice activist, but this was a small step to add a voice in my community. As I mentioned, I'm not a public school teacher, I'm not an alumna of Lehman HS, and I'm not a member of a union. But I have friends, family and colleagues that are public school teachers and I am the product and beneficiary of the NYC public education system - it is these people with whom I stand beside in this fight.  I believe that we are in the midst of a challenging time, a time when traditions, values, and systems are being tested and re-evaluated.

Although the conversation and policies are shifting towards a more corporate nature with focus on business efficiency and returns on investment, I believe that my Fordham education instilled in me that the pursuit of excellence should never come at the expense of respect for humanity and ethics.  You're right that the education system has become distilled into performance measurements, exams, bonuses, and new investments in charters - but there is still the possibility of making it right. Education is about service - service to the students, no matter what age, gender, ability, religion, socioeconomic standing, parental education background of the student.

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This came from a Lyon's school source: The teacher was released without arrest around 7:30 pm; while he was initially told that he was being detained for disorderly conduct (talking back to a cop), he was finally issued a summons for a code violation re: grafitti.
Members of our staff had already contacted the Times and the News, but they decided not to follow up on the story when it did not result in arrest.
Our principal polled the staff after the incident, and we decided not to pursue the publicity route since those cops all come from the precinct that handles our kids if there is trouble at school; we will set up a round-table with them to talk about the incident, stressing that we kept the press out of it.
Our principal is also not tenured and negative publicity could influence the powers that be at the DOE to not grant her richly deserved tenure.
+Thanks for your support. See you on Monday –