A school in New Jersey is at the centre of controversy after firing a teacher who reportedly asked her primary school pupils to write “get well” letters to a prisoner convicted of killing a police officer.
Reports said Marylin Zuniga instructed her pupils at Forest Street Elementary School to write the letters to Mumia Abu-Jamal, 61, the journalist, activist and former member of Black Panthers’ Party who was imprisoned in 1982 for the shooting of a police officer, and who has recently been hospitalised in jail.
Fox News said that after a school board meeting on Wednesday officials took the decision to fire Ms Zuniga. She had been suspended with pay since the alleged incident.
Officials at the town of Orange, where the school is located, did not immediately respond to inquiries on Thursday.
Ms Zuniga’s lawyer, Alan Levine, also did not reply to inquiries. However he told local media that by firing her, the officials had “abdicated their responsibility to the community and to the children of the school district.“
“They lost a teacher that everybody agreed was a remarkable teacher,” he said. “There isn’t a school district around that wouldn't be happy to have Marilyn Zuniga teach in it.”
Ms Zuniga, who is said to be considering appealing the decision, has received support from those who claim she has been targeted.
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