Will Amanda Bueno, the Brooklyn principal of MS 136, be fired for her political email? Bueno has apologized for her pro-Palestinian email after being criticized for her public display of political activism. The principal admitted that her previous email was inappropriate for a school administrator. But some parents and teachers think the apology is too little, too late.
Bueno’s apology was made mere hours after she was condemned for her offensive email, which expressed a clear one-sided perspective of the 11-day conflict in Israel. Chancellor Meisha Porter took to Twitter to express her distaste for the Brooklyn principal, saying that Amanda Bueno “must apologize for her email.” Porter claimed that Bueno’s email “was a clear exercise of poor judgment,” and said that “we will take appropriate follow-up action. We must teach complex current events without bringing our political activities or beliefs into the classroom.”
Amanda Bueno was not only criticized by MS 136 teachers and the Schools’ Chancellor, but by parents, who were upset at the principal’s borderline anti-Semitic rant. Bueno finally apologized Saturday after receiving severe backlash. She said that “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.”
“It was not my intention to inflame tensions on this sensitive issue,” Bueno continued. “I apologize for any added hurt, anger, or misunderstanding my email may have caused.”
Bueno’s May 22 apology arrived three days after her initial email that sparked outrage across the Brooklyn school district. Calls for the MS 136 principal to be fired quickly spread from parents, teachers, and other administrators who were furious at Bueno’s exclusively pro-Palestinian sentiments. Though whether Amanda Bueno will be fired is still unknown.
Not all of those who saw Bueno’s email were upset at the principal’s support of Palestine. Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, who co-founded the “Women’s March” movement but was removed from the group’s board of directors amid anti-Semitism accusations, claimed the principal was 100 percent right for sending her email.
The outspoken activist took to Facebook to send her support, saying “we will stand with her and defend her for doing the right thing. We cannot allow our educators to be punished for doing the right thing.”
Sarsour continued her support on Twitter, replying to Porter’s tweet, saying “we need more principals like Bueno, not less. You will be receiving a letter shortly from hundreds of parents, alumni, teachers, and community members in support of Ms. Bueno.”
Last week, Vernikov filed a formal complaint against Bueno. On Monday, she sent a letter saying, “I am also now in possession of the apology letter you sent out. In your apology, you mentioned ‘not being as inclusive and mindful of other perspectives,’ as you could have been. I would like to request a meeting with you to provide you with that other perspective. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a centuries-old, complex dispute. It is easy for those individuals who don’t live in the Middle East to be misinformed.”
There have been no reports that Bueno is going to meet with the Manhattan lawyer, but the investigation into her actions continues. The Department of Education said Friday that Bueno’s email was “being addressed internally” and explained that the Special Commissioner of Investigation of the New York City School District was handling the issue.
It isn’t known whether Bueno is likely to be fired for her actions, or if a strict reprimand will be the extent of her punishment. However, many parents and teachers believe the backlash and subsequent apology by the Brooklyn principal are simply not enough.