Monday, January 18, 2010

Come join our protest at the mayor's house!

On Friday, Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the Federal District Court upheld the right of parents, students, teachers and other concerned citizens to exercise their first amendment rights and peacefully protest against the school closures and charter school invasions in front of the Mayor's house on E. 79 St. on January 21.

Up to now, the city has been blocking protesters from this public space.

Please come! Bring signs and bring your children so they can be part of this historic event.

Remember, even if your school is not directly affected, the proposed closings and charter school sitings will lead to more overcrowding and larger classes citywide, and will come at a tremendous human and fiscal cost to the system.

Thousands of students will likely be discharged, most of them ELL and special ed, without a chance to graduate with a high school diploma. Hundreds of teachers will be put on absent teacher reserve.

When: Thursday, Jan. 21 from 4 -6:30 PM

Where: Meet on the SW corner of 79 St. and 5th Avenue, near Central Park.

A flyer you can post or distribute in your school is here.

Here is the Times on this victory; an excerpt from the court transcript follows:

Judge Hellerstein: Now, a curtailment of basic First Amendment rights is an irreparable damage. If I curtail the right peacefully to picket and peacefully to express views, I'm curtailing, theoretically, First Amendment rights. And so the denial of those rights constitutes irreparable damage.

....we live in a democracy. And to the greatest extent possible, we need to find ways to both engage in all the protective devices that are necessary to protect our governance in our society while not compromising, wherever we can avoid compromising, the constitutional rights of citizens to demonstrate, to express their views, and protest, and picket.

…The picketing is against the increase of charter schools that I'm told the mayor is planning. Since the mayor is the political leader and elected leader of the city and in charge of the educational system of the city, the point is to picket effectively where residence of the mayor is. As regulated by the provisions I read out, I grant the motion.

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