Fired for supporting students, Trayvon Martin
Protesters demand teacher be reinstated
Published Apr 18, 2012 10:55 PM
Students and community people marched and rallied April 16 at the Pontiac Academy for Excellence in Education to demand the school rehire teacher Brooke Harris, 26, who was terminated after her students participated in an educational project related to the struggle for justice for Trayvon Martin.
Harris, who was very popular with the students and the administration, was disciplined and later fired after she supported students who wore hoodies and raised a dollar each for the campaign demanding the arrest and prosecution of George Zimmerman, the only suspect in the killing of Martin, 17, on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla.
At the demonstration outside the school, a picket line was set up and students emerged from school to participate. Parents of the students were also on hand to support their children as well as to demand that Harris be reinstated.
The Pontiac Academy is a charter school, and therefore the instructional staff is not unionized. Even though the administration at the school supported Harris, the superintendent of the private school district terminated her after Harris inquired why she was being disciplined when the entire project related to Martin was approved by the school administration.
The plight of Harris has drawn broad community support. At the demonstration, Rev. Charles Williams II, pastor of the historic King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit, led the chants and addressed the students.
There were also representatives from the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice, the American Federation of Teachers and the Michigan Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Participants pledged to attend the school board meeting April 17 to demand that Harris’ termination be reversed.
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