Photographer/Editor: Will Caldwell. Reporter: Rick Holmes. ORANGE - Parents and students were out in Orange Wednesday to show support for a teacher who was suspended for a controversial assignment.
Marylin Zuniga, a third-grade teacher at Forest Street Elementary School in Orange, was suspended after she had her students write get-well letters to Mumia Abu-Jamal, a convicted cop killer.
Supporters gathered at the International Faith Ministries in Orange to find a way for her to get her job back.
“She has been a great teacher to me and all the other classmates,” says third-grader Cashmere Jones.
Zuniga attended the meeting and was brought to tears. Soon after her suspension, she told News 12 New Jersey why she had the kids write the letters.
”I mentioned to my students that Mumia was very ill,” she said. “My students asked if they could write get-well letters to Mumia.”
The letters angered the Fraternal Order of Police who found out about the letters on social media. Abu-Jamal has been in prison since 1981 for killing a Philadelphia police officer.
“It became a national story and because of that, the board felt pressured to make some decisions,” says Nyle Fort, a supporter who attended the rally.
News 12 New Jersey reached out to the Orange School board to get an update on Zungia’s status, but calls were not returned.