NJEA President/Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller had some choice words for Republicans in the aftermath of the Buffalo mass-murder. A Patch report quotes Spiller as saying:
“Sadly, racism and white supremacy have become ingrained in the mainstream of today’s Republican Party.“
That’s quite a wholesale indictment of the Republican Party. What’s more, “mainstream” Republicans means most Republicans, so Spiller is indicting them, too.
Spiller made these remarks as mayor of Montclair, but Spiller is also the president of the NJEA. It is Spiller who chose to wear these two hats simultaneously. But is this an appropriate stance for the president of the NJEA? What about the tens of thousands of teachers who are Republicans? Spiller is labelling most of them racists and white supremacists, too.
This is an irresponsible and divisive statement that categorically delegitimizes a large number of teachers simply because they belong to the Republican Party or voted for Republicans. Sunlight asks what message this sends to all teachers and by extension their students and school communities? That Republican teachers – or parents, or community leaders – are racists and white supremacists? Talk about creating a hostile work environment!
NJEA President Spiller should retract or clarify his statement immediately. If he doesn’t, it tells you that he cares far more about progressive ideology and partisan politics than he does about teachers.