BOSTON (CBS) – Two large unions representing educators and law enforcement officials in Boston are at odds. The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association is criticizing the Boston Teachers Union for sponsoring Black Lives Matter at School Week.
Michael Leary, President of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association sent BTU President Jessica Tang a two-page letter. It said in part:
“I strongly urge you to reconsider the BTU’s decision to support Black Lives Matter, an anti-police organization whose activities have the effect of making my member less safe. Policing has always been a dangerous profession, but groups like Black Lives Matter, by inaccurately demonizing police as racists who kill innocent people, have made policing more dangerous than ever before.”
“I certainly disagreed,” said BTU President Jessica Tang.
Teachers at roughly 40 of the district’s schools are having discussions, sharing lesson plans and coming together to talk about the movement.
“This is about kicking off Black History Month in a way that’s affirming to not just our black students, but also to our black families and our black educators,” said Tang.
Tang said they plan to continue with the events as planned.
“We did reach out. We offered to meet with the officers and the offer stands and we’ve had productive conversation with the president of the police union as well,” said Tang.
The president of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers said the letter does not represent the views of everyone in the police department.
They released a joint statement with the NAACP saying in part:
“We do not believe B-L-M is synonymous with “anti-police”. In fact, we believe that B-L-M is a reflection of the historical mistreatment of Black and brown people in this country …”
National Black Lives Matter Week of Action started Monday February 3 and runs until February 7.
“Creating schools and communities where every student and voice is valued and heard is the priority of the Boston Public Schools,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
WBZ-TV reached out to the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association for comment, but have not heard back.