Portland teachers’ union guide reveals that Portland Public Schools teachers have been promoting Pro-Palestine messaging and lessons; guide instructs them on how to push back against administrators.


A guide published in May 2024 titled “Know Your Rights! Teaching & Organizing for Palestine within Portland Public Schools” reveals that district teachers have been promoting Pro-Palestine messaging and lessons in the classroom and provides resources for teachers to counter administrator pushback.

This guide was published in May 2024 by Oregon Educators for Palestine in collaboration with Portland Association of Teachers. While this guide is primarily for PAT members, it also contains broader information that may be relevant to other Portland Public Schools staff and union siblings, as well as educators across Oregon, where Oregon law and standards are cited.

The document states that it was “developed in response to the censorship, discrimination, and harassment that many PPS education workers have experienced and are currently experiencing at the hands of PPS District “Leadership.” It further states that “leadership at the District office has been actively censoring teachers and other education workers who are teaching about Palestine, posting pro-Palestine sentiments in schools, and even those wearing Pro-Palestine messages which disproportionately impacts our Palestinian and Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) staff.”

The guide includes a statement pulled from the district’s Civic Engagement and Unrest: A Tool Kit for Resilience and Empowerment that claims that “support of BLM is not a political statement, nor is it associated with a specific candidate or political campaign. It is not a violation or our policy for staff or students to have BLM-branded items, such as clothing, email signatures, etc.”

In the document, it includes a list of “examples of staff and student censorship and harassment” such as:

  • “Censoring student work on the topics of Settler Colonialism and Zionism;”
  • “Censoring teachers’ ‘political’ posters including any language with the word ‘ceasefire’, ‘Free Palestine’ or images of watermelons;”
  • Censoring staff members across multiple buildings and unions for wearing clothing with the phrase ‘From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free,’ claiming the phrase constituted hate speech and threatening to write up staff for insubordination if worn again.”

Another section provides definitions for terms such as “Anti-Palestinian Racism (APR),” “Antisemitism,” “Keffiyeh/Kufiya,” “Settler Colonialism,” “Zionism,” and “Antizionism.”

The guide provides a section titled “Legal Overview” which states that “educators teaching about the genocide in Palestine are consistent with Oregon law and are acting responsively to the significant numbers of students asking for education on Palestine.”

According to the guide, displaying the “Palestinian flag is protected speech under Oregon law” and “proudly affirms the existence of Palestinian people and their right to live and thrive with dignity and freedom.” It also shares that “prohibiting student or staff attire with Pro-Palestine messages is a violation of protected speech.”

It also instructs teachers how to connect teaching about Palestine to Oregon’s Ethnic Studies Standards and State Standards in ELA. The document also links to the Teach Palestine! Resources for Educators in Portland Public Schools document that includes a link to a Pre-K document titled Teaching Young Kids about Palestine which features resources from controversial groups such as Woke Kindergarten and Teach Palestine.