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Parents Say NYC is Failing Pro-Palestine Students and Teachers

They're facing discipline from the Department of Education even after they were sent human feces for supporting a ceasefire.

Parents with the Community Education Council for District 14 (Hell Gate)

For months, the mayor, elected officials, and the schools chancellor have held multiple press conferences and made announcements expressing support for Jewish students and teachers, both in the immediate aftermath of the October 7 Hamas attacks in Israel, and then during the massive retaliation by Israel in Gaza and the West Bank. While they've also condemned incidents of Islamophobia in New York City schools, a group of parents say City officials haven't done much to support Palestinian students, or to protect students, teachers, and parents who are calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. 

On Wednesday, parents with the Community Education Council for District 14, which issued a pro-ceasefire statement this fall, called out the City's school system for failing to protect them from harassment. The harassment they say they've faced has come in the form of threatening phone calls, emails, and even, this week, a box addressed to the head of the all-volunteer council that contained what they believed to be human feces. Some parent leaders have also received death threats. But instead of supporting parents and providing guidance for how to deal with the barrage of harassment, they say, the Department of Education is more concerned about the steps these parents have taken to protect themselves, opting to make them meet with school officials about violating the state's open meetings laws after they limited speakers at a recent meeting. 

"We have had no response to the targeted attacks and harassment on elected parent leaders and on our precious children who are participating in civic engagement by standing up against oppression," said CEC District 14 President Tajh Sutton, during a press conference on the steps of Tweed Courthouse before a meeting with DOE officials. "This is unacceptable and it cannot continue."

Sutton said that they and other CEC leaders were being called into a meeting with the DOE on Wednesday over limits they'd placed on who could attend Zoom meetings of the parents group, which encompasses Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bed-Stuy, and Bushwick.

"Someone found it appropriate to send human feces because of the lack of response from this administration and [the mayor's] lack of humanity, and their refusal to see the humanity of both Jewish and Palestinian students, staff and families," Sutton said. "Someone felt like that was appropriate and acceptable behavior, and this is after four months of targeted harassment, of doxxing, and of swarming public meetings."

Rula Mahoud, a parent of a public school student in Staten Island, described what she felt is an unsafe environment for Palestinian students in New York City, who at times are harassed by fellow students and teachers over their pro-Palestine views.

"Watching the horrors of this constant, continuous genocide happen and unfold is unspeakable. But here I am in the midst of that, asking [the Department of Education] to do better for speaking up for the educators, be better at defending Palestinians and also be better at including our families in conversations of what's appropriate and not appropriate in these classrooms," Mahoud said. 

The Department of Education did not respond to a request for comment. 

Last week, schools chancellor David Banks held a press conference announcing new initiatives to address antisemitism and Islamophobia in city schools, but excluded several publications from attending

Some links to start your February: 

  • A joint investigation by the CITY, Documented, and the Guardian has people admitting, on record, that they were reimbursed for donations to Eric Adams's 2025 reelection campaign, as part of a "straw donor" scheme meant to evade limits on personal contributions. Another wrinkle? "Three of the five reimbursements were linked to the owners of a hotel in Fresh Meadows, Queens, where the mayor’s director of Asian Affairs, Winnie Greco, lived for a number of months in late 2022 and the early part of 2023—even as the site was operating under a city government subcontract as a shelter for formerly incarcerated individuals." Yikes! Adams campaign lawyer Vito Pitta denied any wrongdoing by the campaign itself. 
  • In the months before budget cuts to the system, the City's libraries saw an explosion of users (but now you can't use most of them on Sundays). 
  • Speaking of library cuts, here's where the City's money went instead
  • New York has a system for making sure people in mental health crisis get the help they need. It just hasn't really funded it. 
  • Two men who served over thirty combined years in prison for the alleged murder of two French tourists in 1987 finally had their convictions overturned
  • OMG people, it's called buying in bulk, it's not actually a discount! You just bought more stuff!
  • The NYPD's global domination continues apace
  • The City Council is trying to get some vendors back on the Brooklyn Bridge after they were booted last month. 
  • Programming for detainees on Rikers nosedived after the City cut ties with nonprofit providers and instead opted to offer services "in-house."
  • The City is once again increasing pay for lifeguards in an effort to head off another summer of closed pools and beaches. 
  • And finally, Chloë Sevigny: anti-dog as accessory, anti-Lululemon, #1 in our hearts 4ever. Love you. 
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