Jeffrey Levy teacher at MS 51 in Brooklyn, School banned Proud Zionist

NYC teacher: My 'Proud Zionist' t-shirt is prohibited at school, but 'BLM' attire is permitted.

An irate Park Slope teacher claims he discovered the hard way that it is acceptable to wear Black Lives Matter t-shirts to work at his "enlightened" Brooklyn school — but not to wear pro-cop or pro-Israel apparel.

Jeffrey Levy, an English as a Second Language teacher at MS 51 in the liberal Brooklyn enclave, told The Post that school Principal Neal Singh ordered him to stop wearing his "Proud Zionist" t-shirt in the building — despite the fact that other staff members wore shirts supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and women's rights.

Levy filed a discrimination case after being denied permission to wear his self-made Star of David shirt.

He claimed Singh informed him that students and staff members had complained about it — as well as the pro-police "Back the Blue" t-shirt he previously wore.

"Singh informed me that my T-shirt bearing the Israeli flag and the phrases 'Proud Zionist' was politically explosive," Levy writes in his complaint to the municipal Department of Education's Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

Jeffrey Levy teacher at MS 51 in Brooklyn, School banned Proud Zionist
Jeffrey Levy, a teacher at MS 51 in Brooklyn, claimed that he was warned not to wear a pro-Zionism t-shirt by the school's administrator.

"He informed me that Zionism entails the retaking of Palestinian land and is therefore 'offensive,' " Levy continues in the lawsuit, a copy of which was reviewed by The Post.

According to the lawsuit, Zionism is a religious movement that resulted in the establishment of the State of Israel for the Jewish people. Palestinians have traditionally asserted ownership of the land.

Levy told The Post he was recently challenged outside school by a classmate who yelled at him, "Palestine is Palestine!"

"I said, 'You are free to express your opinion,'" Levy recounted.

According to the teacher, the principal's approach reeks of double standards.

"Singh has permitted other staff members to wear clothing bearing the slogans 'Black Lives Matter,' 'Feminism is the radical idea that women are people,' 'Feminist,' and 'O'Connor & Ginsburg & Sotomayor & Kagan,' " Levy stated in his discrimination complaint, referring to female US Supreme Court justices.

"Singh tends to limit his concept of politically explosive apparel to Jews only," the teacher asserted.

"None of my dress, activities, or views harm the mental or physical well-being of students or staff, as Singh alleges. I've always behaved myself professionally and respected the ideas of others while performing my work objectively and without bias. His threat and intimidation of me is anti-Semitic."

Levy and the anti-antisemitism group Americans Against Antisemitism shared The Post with images of some of the other t-shirts worn by MS 51 personnel.

Levy was informed that students and staff members at MS 51 had complained about his clothes.
Levy was informed that students and staff members at MS 51 had complained about his clothes.

Singh did not respond to an email request for comment.

However, in a letter to The Post, the DOE defended the principal's decision to urge Levy, a 20-year veteran, to refrain from wearing what it deemed to be politically charged t-shirts.

"Schools are not public platforms for pushing personal political ideas, and staff are forbidden from using schools for political expression under Department of Education standards," DOE spokesperson Katie O'Hanlon said.

"This principal's request was made in response to student and staff complaints and is consistent with school policy regarding political neutrality," she noted.

"School buildings are not public platforms for community or political speech," Chancellor's Regulation D-130 declares.

School personnel may not wear buttons, pins, articles of clothing, or any other objects endorsing a candidate, candidates, slate of candidates, or political organization/committee while on duty or in contact with kids."

Levy contended that wearing a T-shirt that reads "Proud Zionist" does not violate the chancellor's requirements.

The controversy comes amid a nationwide discussion over whether social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter should block speech, even anything disparaging of Democrats — such as The Post's reporting on President Biden's troublesome son Hunter Biden's hijinks.

Dov Hikind, a former state assemblyman, stated that the school's prohibition on the garment is "anti-semitic."
Dov Hikind, a former state assemblyman, stated that the school's prohibition on the garment is "anti-semitic."

Former state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who heads the anti-Semitism group, wrote to schools Chancellor Meisa Ross Porter defending Levy, alleging that district officials applied a "double standard" and demonstrated "anti-Semitic ignorance."

"How contemptible. This is heinous. This is pitiful. This is anti-Semitic," Hikind screamed at the school's handling of Levy in an interview with The Post on Sunday.

"You can't declare you're a proud Jew and a supporter of the Israeli people and state?"

Hikind alleged that the city DOE is "supporting the extreme left, the radical part of the Democratic Party" by prohibiting pro-Jewish statements but permitting others to dress in support of acceptable liberal issues.

"There should be a universal standard. However, this is what is occurring in our city," Hikind stated.

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