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Five City Teachers Among Arrested Wall Street Demonstrators

Tuesday, October 04, 2011 - 02:04 PM

On Monday morning, when David Suker returned to his classroom and distributed The New York Post to begin the usual morning assignment, his students looked up excitedly, having recognized a familiar face on the front page: his.

Mr. Suker, 43, was one of the more than 700 people arrested at the Occupy Wall Street demonstration on Saturday while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

City Department of Education officials said five public-school teachers that they know of have been arrested in the Wall Street demonstrations so far.

Being arrested can be dicey for teachers. Though they cannot lose their jobs for civil disobedience, an arrest for anything more aggressive could land them in trouble.

Mr. Suker, who teaches G.E.D. classes at the Bronx Regional High School, a transfer school, said he was partly inspired to join the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations by his students, who are typically 17 to 21 years of age and have dropped out of regular school to get jobs or take care of children.

"None of my students have jobs," he said. "They're feeling the economic crisis way more than anybody downtown or on Wall Street. We should have an occupy the Bronx rally. Occupy us with jobs."

The public schools and the Wall Street demonstrators are about to get further entwined later Tuesday and this week.

On Tuesday, Occupy Wall Street protesters are expected to join District Council 37 officials in a rally at City Hall to prevent anticipated layoffs of more than 700 school aides and parent coordinators.

And on Wednesday, the city's teachers' union plans to join the Wall Street demonstration.

The United Federation of Teachers president, Michael Mulgrew, said the union would join other groups at the protest on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. The union was e-mailing its members Tuesday afternoon to invite them, union officials said.

"We are definitely going to be participating," Mr. Mulgrew said. "This is what everybody in this country should be screaming about right now, and I’m so happy what the protesters have been able to accomplish. I think they’re fantastic."

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