Teacher: I Was Fired for Trayvon Martin Fundraiser
Last night the investigtion into the death of Trayvon Martin resulted in charges filed against the admitted shooter George Zimmerman.
No matter how you feel about this controversial case, one life is lost and countless others are ruined. Had we addressed this in the wake of the shooting, we would have advised any sheep reading this to avoid talking about it in the workplace.
It’s just not safe to bring such a emotionally charged news story into the workplace. That in itself is an occupational hazard.
And today we wanted to take a look at the firing of a Detroit charter school teacher:
A national civil rights group is calling on a Pontiac charter school to reinstate a teacher who said she was fired for helping students organize a fund-raiser to benefit the family of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
In short, a bunch of students in Brooke Harris’ yearbook class approached her about starting a fund where students paid $1 to wear a hoodie to school, which is in violation of the school’s dress code. In case you haven’t followed the story closely, the hoodie has become a symbol of support for the victim, Trayvon, becuase he was wearing one when shot.
Harris brought the idea to the school’s principal, who signed off on it, but the whole thing was shot down when the superintendent got wind. Harris said she was suspended for two days and that she “was a bad teacher, that I was being unprofessional, that I’m being paid to teach, not to be an activist. When I tried to defend myself, it was construed as insubordination.”
Harris ended up stopping by the school, and her suspension was extended to two weeks. When she was meeting with the superintendent about it, she was canned.
The superintendent, Jacqueline Cassell, said she cannot discuss the exact reason Harris was fired, but that she has no issue with students expressing their thoughts and feelings on the Trayvon Martin case.
Obviously, this is a very gray area. Again, it’s safest to keep these kinds of things out of the workplace. But a school is different for many reasons.
Obviously we don’t know everything about this firing, but it doesn’t look good. We wish Harris the best of luck trying to get her job back, or finding a new one.