Public school teachers warned about wearing New York City Police Department T-shirts

NEW YORK (WABC) -- After last month's march to remember Eric Garner, police union officials were livid with teachers union chief Michael Mulgrew for agreeing to participate in the protest that some saw as anti-police.

"He decided to link arms with (march organizer) Al Sharpton and march against New York City police officers," said Patrick Lynch, PBA president.

Garner died after he was arrested by police who allegedly used an chokehold on Staten Island.

But several teachers who are related to police officers bucked their union and wore pro-NYPD T-shirts. This week leaders in the teachers union warned members to be careful and not to wear anything inappropriate in the classroom.

Mulgrew also cited school policy. "As a democratic union, we encourage all our 200,000 members to express their opinions. But Department of Education regulations require school personnel to avoid distracting clothes and openly political statements when in school."

"It's mind-boggling that a union-leader would use management scare tactics to scare their members from having an opinion," Lynch countered.

But Mulgrew accused Lynch of saying "accusatory things trying to divide people ... and not bring people together."

Mulgrew defended the march, calling it a teachable moment for students, police and their relatives.

The mayor wasn't taking sides in the fight. "Respectfully that is a media fabrication," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. "I know so many police officers, I know so many teachers, the vast majority of both believe we are on the same side because we are all on the same side."
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