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PFT: ‘We will not be intimidated’

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan has posted a strongly worded statement on his blog, denouncing the reassignment of two Audenried high school teachers in the wake of student protests at the school:

We will not be intimidated

I learned last night that two teachers from Audenreid High School received letters from the School District ordering them to report to the High School Academic Division office this morning (Friday, Feb. 18). At another school, a principal said he was told by the Administration to warn teachers that they will be disciplined if they encourage students to engage in peaceful civil discourse about the future of their schools and, by extension, by their communities.

I will not allow our teachers to be abused and intimidated in this way and will use every legal means at our disposal to protect them.

How dare the district send hard-working, dedicated teachers to the equivalent of a “rubber room.” How dare the district target the very teachers who have demonstrated their commitment to working with students in the toughest neighborhoods and schools. This is an insult to our teachers, and an insult to the students.

These high school students – young adults – care about their school and their community. And when they could not obtain adequate information from the School District about why their school is being turned over to an outside company or on what basis this decision was made – students turned to their parents and teachers to help them understand what is happening around them.

We do not know yet why these passionate educators have been removed from their classrooms, but if it is because they spoke to students about how, in a democratic society, we make our voices heard, the PFT will defend its members with every tool available.

At Audenried today, assemblies were held where the principal addressed the students. Look for continued updates here.