Oakland Teachers Hold Unauthorized ‘Teach-in’ in Support of Palestine

Oakland Teachers Hold Unauthorized ‘Teach-in’ in Support of Palestine
Protesters wave flags in support of Palestinians in Los Angeles on Oct. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Micaela Ricaforte

A group of Oakland, California teachers gave pro-Palestine lessons to their students Dec. 6 as part of an unauthorized “teach-in” amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

The teach-in was organized by several members of the local teachers’ union, the Oakland Education Association, who remained anonymous.

Organizers told ABC News they felt the resources that had been provided by the district to discuss the conflict with students were incomplete and did not include the Palestinian side.

They estimated between 75 to 100 teachers participated, highlighting Palestinian narratives through in-class discussions, history lessons, and hosting guest speakers in classrooms.

The event, however, was opposed by the Oakland Unified School District.

District Supt. Kyla Johnson-Trammell said in a statement Dec. 4 the district did not authorize the teach-in, and the materials shared by the teach-in organizers were “not aligned” with guidance previously given by district administrators.

She said the district in October shared curriculum guidance on how to speak about the conflict in classrooms with educators, along with emotional wellness resources and support for teachers and staff.

Ms. Johnson-Trammell also stated the district has remained “unwavering in our stance against antisemitic, anti-Israeli, Islamophobic, or anti-Palestinian prejudice or discrimination within our District.”

“I want to again make clear that our expectation is that all educators, in every classroom across the district, take seriously their responsibility to adhere to principles of education, and to keep their personal beliefs out of the classroom,” she stated.

Organizers of the teach-in shared a document—first obtained by an ABC news affiliate in San Francisco—among fellow teachers with resources for participating teachers for all grade levels from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

“In a country, state and district where the study of Palestinian liberation struggles has been systematically marginalized and/or erased, we are attempting to widen the scope of our students’ experience,” the organizers wrote in the document.

It refers to Israel as an “apartheid state” and describes current events as “the historic and unfolding oppression and genocide of Palestinians.”

The document also said educators acknowledge the “forces of imperialism and capitalism shape the decisions of global leaders and enact oppressive conditions upon various ethnic groups and often turn truly oppressed groups against each other.”

It continued, “We also condemn the historic and unfolding oppression and genocide of Palestinians, who remain effectively stateless and subject to military occupation by Israel.”

In October, the teachers’ union came under fire for posting and then deleting an Instagram post pledging “unequivocal support for Palestinian liberation” and blasting Israel as an “apartheid state.”

Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.