In a strange turn of events a third-grade teacher in New Jersey had her students write “get well” cards to Mumia Abu-Jamal, a longtime death-row convict who is now serving life without parole for the 1981 shooting of a Philadelphia police officer.

The teacher, Marylin Zuniga, shared the news over Twitter, where she also acknowledged the help of Johanna Fernandez, a professor in the department of Black and Latino studies at Baruch College, in delivering the letters to Abu-Jamal who she refers to as “ill.” Alongside the tweet Zuniga shared the hashtag “#freemumia.”

Zuniga’s Twitter account has since been deleted but not before the damage was done. Zuniga has since been suspended for her activism and the incident has exploded across the internet.

It seems absurd, in the first place, that Mumia Abu-Jamal would come up in conversation or teaching with third-graders. True, Abu-Jamal was an unusually vociferous and outspoken death-row inmate publishing books and articles that gained notice around the country, but there is nothing in his story that demands the subject be brought up for third-graders.

Not only is the subject of Abu-Jamal an absolutely illogical one for any elementary school classroom, but Zuniga’s attitude towards her students is particularly troubling.

In a post previous to the tweet announcing the delivery of her “free Mumia” letters, Zuniga wrote that “the mind of a child is where the revolution begins.”

It is apparent that Zuniga abused her position as a teacher in order to inflate her own radical ideas and positions. That is the exact opposite of what a true teacher should do. Teachers, while they shouldn’t stay away from difficult subjects, should provide unfettered information and give the students the information to decide for themselves.

Zuniga’s example sheds light on a frightening new tactic in leftist and liberal action. If teachers are hijacking schools to use students as a personal platform for their ideas, then somehow the vetting of teachers must be more stringent. Let’s not let bias creep into the classroom.



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