PATERSON, NJ - Almost 1,000 teachers, staff, elected officials, parents, and education advocated attended a protest in front of the Paterson School District Monday, in support of Paterson Education Association President John McEntee Jr.
Speakers at the protest included Senator Raymond Lesniak, Passaic County Freeholders Sandi Lazzara, Bruce James, Assad Ahkter, and education advocate Corey Teague.
Lesniak said to the crowd, "John is guilty of protecting your jobs so that they [district] can't privatize your positions. John is guilty of fighting for a contract that pays you more than you have ever received in the last four years. John is guilty of fighting for your safety, so that you can feel safe and secure as they[district] cut security staff and budgets".
"I am a publicly educated, the people I work with are having success because they had good public educations" said Freeholder Bruce James. "When we don't have the test tubes, when we don't have the slides, when we don't have the computer, but the district has a million consultants, there is a problem."
McEntee, the current PEA president, is facing charges from the district for allegedly verbally attacking and intimidating a district vice-principal last year.
The district seeks to revoke McEntee's tenure for what district superintendent Donnie Evans called "unbecoming conduct" and said in a email to board of education members that "more information will be available in the future."
McEntee has been a public critic of the district, the conditions in schools, and has thought outside of the box to get responses from the district. Last year when temperatures in the class rooms reached nearly 100 degrees, McEntee put thermometers in the class rooms to document the hot temperatures.
In October when the district told teachers to schedule back to school events during school hours for "safety," McEntee spearheaded an initiative to have the Guardian Angels, a civilian group geared at community safety, patrol the areas around Paterson schools for back to school night.
Curtis Sliwa of the Guardian Angels took to Facebook with a video in support of McEntee Tuesday night. "I would think with the indictment of the corrupt mayor Joey Torres that should be the focus, or the basketball coach at Eastside high school who was housing students from overseas so he could have a top ranked basketball team. Everything we have seen from this guy (McEntee) is a guy who dares to care."
The district has not released any information on the charges. District spokeswoman Terry Corrallo said that the charges are not public and no details will be released on the matter.