Teachers Ordered to Remove “Proud to be a Teacher” Signs
“Pride in Parsippany”, boasts the great township sign at the intersection of Rt. 46 and Vail Road. The teachers of Parsippany’s public school children however, are not to be afforded the opportunity to exhibit that pride according to an edict issued today by the school district’s chief administrator. Teachers have been ordered to remove a simple black and white sign that says only “I am Proud to be a Teacher” in plain block letters, followed by a smaller tag line, “Parsippany-Troy Hills Education Association”.
The message, uniformly printed on standard white printer paper, had been posted on classroom doors in all district school buildings for several weeks before acting superintendent Nancy Gigante issued a directive that they be taken down. Gigante cited Board of Education policy forbidding political actions or statements on building premises as the reason for ordering the removal of the signs.
“We view this statement as a positive message to both students and parents”, said Joe Kyle, PTHEA president. “ We have always been proud of our role as teacher, coach, counselor and guide to the children of Parsippany, and we never intended for the sign to be anything other than a declaration of that pride.”
Kyle went on to say that the PTHEA would be challenging the validity of Gigante’s interpretation of the Board policy in question. “Our members were proud to go out of our way to willingly bail out the Board after the recent Middle School disaster, and so we are astounded that a printed declaration of that pride is deemed a political action statement”. PTHEA members worked diligently to restore a workable schedule in both Central and Brooklawn Middle Schools, going above and beyond their contracted duties.