A third-grade teacher at an Orange, N.J., elementary school was fired this week for allowing her class to write “get well” letters last month to Mumia Abu-Jamal, according to the Daily Mail.
Orange Schools Superintendent Ronald Lee on Wednesday confirmed the board’s decision, taken during a heated board meeting Tuesday, to fire Marylin Zuniga, the report says.
The decision came after Zuniga was suspended without pay last month for allowing her students at Forest Street Elementary School to pen letters to the ailing Abu-Jamal. In 1982 he was convicted of fatally shooting a Philadelphia police officer in 1981 and was sentenced to death. The sentence was vacated three decades later after a sustained public campaign to save his life. He is now serving a life sentence.
In a phone interview with NJ.com on Wednesday, Zuniga’s attorney, Alan Levine, said that by firing her, school officials “abdicated their responsibility to the community and to the children of the school district.”
According to NJ.com, Zuniga introduced her students to Abu-Jamal, 60, in February, when she asked them to analyze this quote from him: “So long as one just person is silenced, there is no justice.”
Last month, after Zuniga told students that Abu-Jamal was suffering from diabetes and other health problems, she consented when they asked to write him “get well” letters, the report says.