Menu JTA Search

Teacher who defended Hamas resigns

A high school teacher who defended Hamas and invited a pro-Palestinian group to speak to students has quit. Ron Francis, a physics teacher at Andover High School in Massachusetts, did not tell the North Andover Eagle-Tribune how the furor over his organizing of the Wheels of Justice event played into his decision.Local Jews were outraged by the January visit by the left-wing group, which says on its Web site: “The violence suffered by Israelis and Palestinians will continue as long the roots of the conflict remain – colonization, occupation, displacement, apartheid and the denial of the right of Palestinian refugees.”Andover High principal Peter Anderson had canceled the visit, but reversed his decision when he was threatened with a free-speech lawsuit by the president of the teachers’ union, Tom Meyers.Wheels of Justice representatives spoke to six social studies class without incident, the Eagle Tribune reported in January, but the evening session with parents in attendance had to be cut short because of shouting from the audience.Speaking about his decision to resign, Francis said, “It was a totality of different things. I wanted to move on to a different situation.”