PATERSON, N.J. - Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram flooded Tuesday with the hashtag #WeAreJohnMcEntee as thousands of teachers, education staff, and retirees wore black, posted pictures with signs, and took videos in support of Paterson Education Association (PEA) president John McEntee Jr.
On Facebook alone there were thousands of interactions including shares, video views, likes, and comments (we estimate the reach to be in the millions). Over 85 municipalities and major cities that participated, teachers from every Paterson School participated, and found shares from as far away as Washington State on Twitter.
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 ed. 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 over seas 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.