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In the wake of hundreds of protests to curb police brutality by police departments nationwide — including Ferguson, the NYPD, and LAPD — hundreds of teachers in Staten Island, NY plan to wear pro-NYPD shirts the first week of school.

The educators are wearing the shirts in protest against their union’s backing of an Eric Garner march that occurred in August. Garner was killed when NYPD officers used an illegal chokehold on him during an arrest. His death was ruled a homicide. The 43-year-0ld was a father to six.

From DNA Info:

Nearly 550 T-shirts reading, “New York’s Brightest Supports New York’s Finest, #ThankYouNYPD,” have been purchased from printing company Special Tees in anticipation of the first week of school, according to company director Vincent Bonomi.

“It started out as just a couple of teachers from a school who came in and ordered shirts, and word of mouth has spread, and we’ve been getting calls ever since,” said Bonomi, whose company charges $6 for the shirt. “There are a lot of schools on Staten Island that are ordering them — from the South Shore to the North Shore and everywhere in the middle.”

Donna Romani, a paraprofessional at an elementary school, said she heard of many teachers’ desire to wear pro-NYPD shirts to school this week and decided to print a shirt for people who don’t already have police-themed tees.

“We’re just wearing the shirts to show our support for the NYPD,” Romani said. “We were against the unions marching without asking the members.”

Special Tees is just one of several companies offering pro-NYPD t-shirts for teachers. A list of companies supplying the protest tees can be seen on the United Federations of Teachers (UFT) Members for the NYPD Facebook page.

The group was founded by a group of Staten Island teachers and paraprofessionals after they accused the UFT of rushing to support Al Sharpton’s march for Garner, which shed light on the police officers’ actions in Garner’s death before the case had a chance to go to the judge.

Romani said that teachers and staff from all over the borough plan on wearing the shirts on either the first day or first week of school. Her school, which she didn’t want to name, will be wearing them on Friday, she said.

The group currently lists 135 members. The UFT has yet to respond to the plan.


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