A New Jersey elementary school teacher was suspended today for having her class write get-well letters to convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Marylin Zuniga, a third grade teacher in Orange, tweeted Sunday that she had her students write to the deathrow inmate "to lift up his spirits as he is ill."
Superintendent Ronald Lee said in a statement that Zuniga had not notified parents or sought prior approval from administrators, according to a report on NJ.com.
According to the statement, the school district "was surprised to learn through recent news reports" of the unauthorized assignment.
"The incident reported is in no way condoned nor does it reflect curriculum, program or activities approved by the district," the statement said. "Ms. Zuniga will be immediately suspended with pay until such time the investigation is completed and based upon the results of the investigation additional action may be taken by the Board of Education."
Abu-Jamal, 60, is serving a life sentence at State Correctional Institution-Mahanoy for the 1981 killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. He was sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison without parole after decades of appeals.
On March 30, Abu-Jamal passed-out after suffering complications from diabetes and was taken to a hospital in Pottsville for treatment.
The illness prompted Zuniga to have her class write the get well notes which were delivered to Abu-Jamal by a Baruch College professor.
Police union officials in Philadelphia decried Zuniga's actions.
"We're disgusted by it," said John McNesby, president of Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police. "The F.O.P., the police and the Faulkner family, we're all disgusted. I don't know where a teacher gets the idea to have her class send letters to a convicted felon.
"Hopefully they'll put a policy in place so this doesn't happen again," said McNesby.
Following an outcry on social media and the right-wing blogosphere, Zuniga closed her Twitter account. She did not immediately returned calls for comment. School administrators, who are currently off for Spring Break, could also not be reached.
Zuniga, a first-year teacher at the school, recently earned her masters in education from Columbia University.