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DOE head condemns pro-Palestine walkout planned for NYC schools Friday

Department of Education Chancellor David Banks condemned a citywide pro-Palestinian pupil walkout planned for Friday.

In his strongest feedback but concerning the ongoing protests towards the battle in Gaza, Banks — who was not too long ago grilled by Congress over antisemitism in metropolis schools — discouraged college students from strolling out.

“I’m a big believer in student voice and kids standing up for the things that they believe in…  I don’t think you need to have continued walkouts to do that,” mentioned Banks at a press briefing on Thursday.

Chancellor David Banks Holds a Media Availability on May 30th, 2024
Department of Education Chancellor David Banks condemned a citywide pro-Palestinian pupil walkout planned for Friday. X / @NYCSchools

While he didn’t say explicitly what penalties college students who go away faculty in the course of the day to protest Israel would face — DOE officers mentioned on the similar press convention that they’d be watching the walkouts carefully.

“Our plan is to have all boots on the ground throughout the city and to keep our ears open around schools that may in fact participate,” Security Director on the DOE Mark Rampersant mentioned.

An 8-page toolkit circulated on-line to college students and educators from Big Apple schools has inspired protestors to go away lecture rooms at about 11:30am earlier than assembly exterior DOE HQ in decrease Manhattan at about 3pm.

Education officers have been unable to verify which schools, if any, can be taking part within the walkout however mentioned they’d be offering help all through the day.

“If students are going to a particular location, we’re going to work with our our agency partners in the police department to ensure that things are happening peacefully and young people are not getting hurt,” Rampersant added.

NY Students at Hillcrest HS hold up a banner that read Palestine
In his strongest feedback but concerning the ongoing protests towards the battle in Gaza, Banks — who was not too long ago grilled by Congress over antisemitism in metropolis schools — discouraged college students from strolling out. Dennis A. Clark

The toolkit — distributed by six teams together with NYC Educators for Palestine and Teacher’s Unite — encourages college students to know their rights and to “ask for leniency” if schools prohibit them leaving the constructing with out permission.

“Just because the school is authorized to punish you does not mean they must do so,” it explains.

It goes on to say, “imposing harsher punishment on students who skip school to engage in political activities than on those who cut for any other reason violates the First Amendment.”

NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks arrives at Hillcrest High School after students on Monday November 20th, 2023 marched through the hallways in a pre-planned protest
“I’m a big believer in student voice and kids standing up for the things that they believe in…  I don’t think you need to have continued walkouts to do that,” mentioned Banks at a press briefing on Thursday. Dennis A. Clark

As per the Chancellor’s rules — which dictate guidelines for all New York City Public schools — workers might not take part in walkout, protest, demonstrations throughout scheduled work hours.

“However, staff can absolutely participate in political activities on their own time and not on DOE property,” the toolkit advises.

Educators have additionally been inspired to point out their help for walkouts by cancelling checks or main paper deadlines or “making the lessons for flexible to accommodate students who walkout.”

NY Students at Hillcrest HS hold up a banner that read Palestine
An 8-page toolkit circulated on-line to college students and educators from Big Apple schools has inspired protestors to go away lecture rooms at about 11:30am earlier than assembly exterior DOE HQ in decrease Manhattan at about 3pm. Dennis A. Clark

It comes after Banks was grilled by Congress in Washington D.C. on his method to antisemitism as town confronted allegations of antisemitism at a Brooklyn High School, a rampage at a Queen’s High School that noticed a Jewish instructor disguise in a locked workplace for hours and one other citywide pupil walkout calling for a ceasefire within the Gaza Strip earlier this yr.

“Once your voice becomes a voice of anti semitism, or Islamophobia, or homophobia, or any of the other ills that we see, I don’t intend to sit idly by and watch that continue to play out,” Banks acknowledged on Thursday noting the go to to the nation’s Capitol.

“We are we are very serious about these issues.”

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