In the strange case of Brooklyn principal Jill Bloomberg, who is accused of promoting communism to students, the New York Civil Liberties Union is backing Bloomberg and comparing the city’s investigation to a “witch hunt.”
On Thursday, the NYCLU released a letter signed by the organization’s executive and legal directors, urging the city to drop the investigation into Bloomberg and framing it as an attack against free speech.
The investigation has been “intrusive” for the school, according to the letter. Students have been pulled out of class and questioned without parental consent — at least in one case contrary to the parent’s wishes, it states, about their teachers’ political leanings.
In response, education department officials said the city is required to follow up on allegations of misconduct.
“OSI [Office of Special Investigations] has an obligation to review and investigate all reports of misconduct that it receives,” said education department spokesman Michael Aciman. “The complaints against Ms. Bloomberg contain allegations that, if true, would constitute violations of several chancellor’s regulations and DOE rules.”
The city’s investigation stems from whether Bloomberg violated a city regulation by “actively recruiting” students to a communist organization. Bloomberg, who has long been outspoken about issues like school segregation, sees the charges as retaliation for her activism.
“Principals and teachers do not lose their right to free speech just because they work at a school,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman in a statement. “This misguided investigation has all the earmarks of a witch hunt. It is out of control and must end immediately.”
You can read the full letter here.