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Tue April 17, 2012
Online petition seeks to reinstate fired Pontiac teacher
A Pontiac teacher who says she was fired after helping her students organize a fundraiser for the family of Trayvon Martin is receiving support in the form of over 200,000 petition signatures. According to the Detroit Free Press, the online petition calls for Brooke Harris to be reinstated to her post at Pontiac Academy for Excellence and organizers plan to present the signatures during a meeting of the school's board at 5p.m. today.
From the Free Press:
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit based in Montgomery, Ala., started the petition.
The district has denied Harris was fired because of the fundraiser, but Superintendent Jacqueline Cassell previously told the Free Press she could not discuss a personnel issue.
According to Harris, the Free Press writes, students in her yearbook class planned to raise money and pledged to wear hoodies to school, a violation of the school's dress code meant to show solidarity with Martin who was wearing one when he was shot and killed in Florida earlier this year.
Harris told the Free Press that when school administrators became aware of the plan, they moved to block it:
Harris said Cassell said no, and when she asked whether students could meet with Cassell to make their case, she was suspended for two days for being insubordinate.
Harris said she came to the school while suspended, so her suspension was extended to two weeks, but she was fired after questioning it.
It remains to be seen if the petition will have any effect on Harris' employment status.
-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom