New York City school principal sorry for urging staff to support Palestinians

The principal of a Brooklyn middle school apologizes to her staff after sending an email last week calling on them to support Palestinian liberation — even as some of them say they did not think an apology was necessary.

Amanda Bueno, who heads M.S. 136, emailed teachers and administrators at her school last week amid the fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, urging them to take action. The letter included several options, among them attending a vigil and calling on government officials to place sanctions on Israel, according to the New York Post, which broke news of the letter and has since covered the school’s saga closely.

Public employees in New York City are prohibited from using their roles or education department resources to engage in political activity, and Chancellor Meisha Porter, the head of the city’s Department of Education, criticized Bueno publicly over the weekend.

Shortly afterward, Bueno sent her staff an apology email, the Post reports.

“As the Principal of a diverse school community who is committed to social justice causes and human rights concerns, I want to apologize for using school email to strongly communicate my personal views and not being as inclusive and mindful of other perspectives as I could have been,” Bueno writes. “It was not my intention to inflame tensions on this sensitive issue. I apologize for any added hurt, anger, or misunderstanding my email may have caused.”

Some Jewish staff members had complained to the Post about the letter, and Jewish elected officials from the area publicly criticized it. M.S. 136, located in the Sunset Park neighborhood, enrolls few if any Jewish or Palestinian children.

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