October 19, 2011
LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- Occupy LA protesters demonstrated on the steps of Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters Monday, speaking out against the district's dismissal of a substitute teacher who made public comments deemed anti-Semitic at a recent protest.
The teacher, Patricia McAllister, spoke out at a recent Occupy LA protest, saying the Jews run the nation's banking infrastructure and should be forced to leave the U.S.
"I think that the Zionist Jews who are running these big banks and our Federal Reserve, which is not run by the federal government -- they need to be run out of this country," McAllister said in the video by Reason.tv, a Libertarian-leaning news organization.
McAllister stood by her words Tuesday, speaking with KTLA 5. When it was suggested that her statement was racist, she refused to back down.
"It is not racist, it's the truth," McAllister said. "Anyone who speaks against the Jews are called racists nowadays."
McAllister is black. When suggested that someone might be considered racist if making similar comments about African-Americans, she refused to agree.
"If we were destroying this nation, they'd better say something and take us down with it," she said.
McAllister's comments weren't endorsed by Occupy LA or United Teachers of Los Angeles -- the labor union representing the city's educators.
District officials released a statement supporting McAllister's freedom of speech, but saying the district would "never stand for behavior that is intolerant, disrespectful or discriminatory."
McAllister's status as a substitute teacher makes her an at-will employee and she has been relieved of her duty, officials said.
The teachers' union joined Occupy LA in calling on the district's Board of Education to rehire 1,200 teachers and other workers. The demonstrators said they are looking to start a new occupation site at LAUSD headquarters to make sure their demands are met.
The union protested district-wide budget cuts, ending in widespread layoffs of teachers and other personnel.
District officials said that 800 of the 1,200 employees that were originally laid off have already been rehired.