Jill Bloomberg, a Park Slope principal accused of recruiting students into communism during school hours, was exonerated of that allegation, the Department of Education announced Wednesday. But she’s not in the clear.
As first reported by the New York Daily News, the department’s Office of Special Investigations found that the Park Slope Collegiate principal, who is well known for her anti-racist activism, violated other regulations. “Based on the findings of a thorough investigation conducted by OSI, several of the allegations against Ms. Bloomberg were substantiated and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken,” said education department spokesman Michael Aciman.
The substantiated allegations include allowing a documentary crew to film inside the school without student consent forms, hiring a substitute teacher without the required authorization, and offering a history course to fulfill a required government course credit without approval from the education department. The department could not say what penalty Bloomberg might face.
Bloomberg could not immediately be reached for comment. Maria Chickedantz, an attorney for her, disputed the findings. “The substantiated charges against Jill are totally baseless and have nothing to do with the original accusations,” she said in an email. “It’s an obvious pretext to hide the fact that they went after her for speaking out against race discrimination at her school.”
In April, Bloomberg filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming the investigation into her alleged communist recruiting on campus was launched in retaliation for her public stance against school segregation.
In January, Bloomberg had sent an email to Department of Education officials, arguing that sports teams in her school building were unfairly divided and funded. In court, the city’s law department denied any connection between that email and the investigation.
Colleagues and parents rallied to Bloomberg’s defense, packing the courtroom and giving statements on her behalf. The New York Civil Liberties Union raised concerns that Bloomberg’s free speech rights were being violated and, earlier this month, sent a letter to the Department of Education saying the investigation had “spun wildly out of control.”
Chickedantz said Bloomberg’s suit was still underway. “Until further notice,” she said, “the case is proceeding as planned.”