School banned my ‘proud Zionist’ t-shirt

An outraged Park Slope teacher says he’s learned the hard way it’s okay to wear Black Lives Matter t-shirts to work at his ‘awake’ Brooklyn school – but no pro-cop or pro clothes. Israeli.

Jeffrey Levy, an ESL teacher at MS 51 in the liberal Brooklyn enclave, told the Post that school principal Neal Singh ordered him to stop wearing his “proud Zionist t-shirt. In the building – even though other staff wore it. shirts extolling BLM and women’s rights.

Levy filed a discrimination complaint for not being allowed to wear his own-made shirt, which features the Star of David.

He said Singh told him students and staff complained about it – as well as the pro-police ‘Back the Blue’ t-shirt he previously wore.

“Singh told me that my T-shirt with an Israeli flag on it and the words ‘proud Zionist’ was ‘politically explosive’,” Levy said in his complaint, filed Sept. 30 with the Equal Opportunities Office. and the city’s education ministry. The diversity.

Levy has learned that students and staff at MS 51 have complained about his shirts.
Paul Martinka

“He told me that Zionism involved reclaiming Palestinian land and was ‘offensive’,” Levy adds in the complaint, a copy of which The Post reviewed.

Zionism is a religious movement that led to the creation of the State of Israel for the Jewish people, he says in the complaint. Palestinians have long claimed that the land is theirs.

Levy admitted to the Post that he was recently confronted by a student outside of school who yelled at him, “Palestine is Palestine!”

the "Proud Zionist" t-shirt Levy was told to stop wearing at school.
The “proud Zionist” t-shirt Levy was told to stop wearing at school.
Students and staff also complained about Levy's
Students and staff also complained about Levy’s “Back the Blue” shirt.

“I said, ‘You’re welcome to give your opinion,’” Levy recalls.

The teacher said the principal’s position smacked of a double standard.

“Singh allowed other staff to wear clothes with ‘Black Lives Matter’, ‘Feminism is the radical idea that women are people’, ‘Feminist’ and ‘O’Connor & Ginsburg & Sotomayor & Kagan Said Levy, referring to female justices of the United States Supreme Court, in her discrimination complaint.

Levy noted that staff members are permitted to wear other political clothing.
Levy noted that staff members are permitted to wear other political clothing.

“Singh’s definition of politically explosive attire seems limited to Jews only,” the teacher said.

“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 in a professional manner and have always respected everyone’s beliefs while doing my job in a neutral and unbiased manner. … His attempt to threaten and intimidate me is anti-Semitic.

Levy and the group Americans Against Antisemitisim provided the Post with photos showing some of the other T-shirts worn by MS 51 personnel.

Singh declined an email request for comment.

But in a statement to The Post, the DOE backed the principal for ordering Levy, a 20-year veteran, to stop wearing what he considered politically charged t-shirts.

“Schools are not public forums for asserting personal political views, and according to Department of Education regulations, employees are prohibited from using schools for the purpose of political expression,” said the Minister of Education. DOE spokesperson Katie O’Hanlon.

“This principal’s request follows complaints from students and staff and is consistent with policies of political neutrality in schools,” she added.

The DOE issued a statement supporting the decision of MS 51 director Neal Singh.
The DOE released a statement supporting the decision of MS 51 director Neal Singh.

Chancellor’s By-Law D-130 states that “school buildings are not public forums for the purposes of community or political expression.

“When on duty or in contact with students, school personnel must not wear buttons, pins, clothing items or any other item defending a candidate, candidates, a list of candidates or a political organization / committee. “

Levy argued that wearing a “proud Zionist” t-shirt does not violate the Chancellor’s regulations.

The controversy comes amid a nationwide debate on social media such as Facebook and Twitter’s censorship speech, including critical Democrats’ content – like The Post’s reporting of the shenanigans of Hunter Biden, the troubled son of the President Biden.

Former National Assembly member Dov Hikind, who heads the anti-Semitism group, sent a letter to Schools Chancellor Meisa Ross Porter in defense of Levy, accusing district officials of engaging in a “double standard” and an “anti-Semitic ignorance”.

“How insulting. It’s sick. It is pathetic. It’s anti-Semitic, ”Hikind told The Post on Sunday of the school’s treatment of Levy.

“Can’t you say that you are a proud Jew and that you support the people and the State of Israel?” “

Former National Assembly Member Dov Hikind claimed the school shirt ban is "anti-Semite."
Former state assembly member Dov Hikind said the school’s shirt ban was “anti-Semitic.”
Stefan Jeremiah for the New York Post

Hikind accused the city’s DOE of “representing the far left, the radical wing of the Democratic Party,” by forbidding pro-Jewish statements but allowing others to wear clothes sympathetic to accepted liberal causes.

“There should be one standard for everyone. But that’s what’s happening in our city, ”Hikind said.

Elizabeth J. Harless