Jeffrey Levy, an English as a Second Language teacher at MS 51 in the liberal Brooklyn enclave, told The Post that school Principal Neal Singh ordered him to stop wearing his “Proud Zionist” t-shirt in the building, even though other staffers have worn shirts touting BLM and women’s rights.
Levy filed a discrimination complaint over not being allowed to wear his self-made shirt, which features the Star of David.
He said Singh told him that students and staffers complained about it — and also the pro-police “Back the Blue” t-shirt he’s previously worn.
“Singh told me that my T-shirt with an Israeli flag on it and the words ‘Proud Zionist’ were politically explosive’,” Levy details in his complaint, filed Sept. 30, with the city Department of Education’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity.
“He told me that Zionism involves the retaking of Palestinian land and is ‘offensive,’ ” Levy adds in the complaint, a copy of which was reviewed by The Post.
Zionism is a movement that led to the creation of the State of Israel for Jewish people, he points out in the complaint.
Levy acknowledged to The Post that he was recently confronted by a student outside school who screamed at him, “Palestine is Palestine!”
“I said, ‘You’re welcome to your opinion,’ ” Levy recalled.
The teacher described the principal’s stance as a double standard.
“Singh has permitted other staff to wear attire with ‘Black Lives Matter,’ ‘Feminism is the radical idea that women are people,’ ‘Feminist’ and ‘O’Connor & Ginsburg & Sotomayor & Kagan,’ ” Levy said, referring to female US Supreme Court justices, in his discrimination complaint.
“Singh’s definition of politically explosive attire appears limited to Jews only,” the teacher asserted.
“None of my attire, actions or beliefs endanger the emotional or physical safety of students or staff, which Singh accused me of. … I have conducted myself professionally and have always respected the beliefs of all while doing my job neutrally and without bias. … His attempt to threaten and intimidate me is anti-Semitic.”
Levy and the group Americans Against Antisemitism provided The Post with photos showing some of the other t-shirts worn by staff in MS 51.
Singh turned down an e-mailed request for comment.
However, in a statement to The Post, the DOE supported the principal for instructing Levy, a 20-year veteran, to stop wearing what it deemed politically charged t-shirts.
“Schools are not public forums for advancing personal political views, and per Department of Education regulations, employees are prohibited from using schools for the purpose of political expression,” stated DOE spokeswoman Katie O’Hanlon.
“This principal’s request followed complaints from students and staff and is consistent with policies around political neutrality in schools,” she concluded.