A white woman who taught social studies for a school in the Bronx, New York, has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit after she was fired for forcing Black students to play slaves during a lesson.
According to the New York Daily News, Middle School 118 teacher Patricia Cummings chose Black students from her class and instructed them to lie on the floor during a lesson on U.S. slavery. As part of the lesson, Cummings stepped on the students’ backs to show them how it felt.
Afterward, students and one staffer told the Daily News about the incident, which resulted in outrage. Eventually, Cummings was terminated from her job, but she alleged the lesson went differently than reported.
In Cummings’ account of the January lesson, on Jan. 9, she showed five-minute clip from the movie “Freedom,” then allegedly asked four student volunteers to sit close together to show the “cramped conditions” aboard a slavery ship crossing the Middle Passage.
Cummings denied that any child laid on the floor and denied physically contacting any students. However, the Department of Education spokesman Doug Cohen said an investigation into Cummings’ actions determined she used poor judgment.
“We’ve begun the process of firing Ms. Cummings based on an investigation of this unacceptable behavior and her performance as an educator,” Cohen said. “We’ll review this baseless lawsuit.”
Cummings has since filed Notice of Claim in anticipation of a lawsuit against “the city, parents, students and the media.” The teacher claims the way the lesson was reported was completely wrong and that she is the victim of reverse discrimination, defamation, negligence and other claims.
Her Notice of Claim — which says she’s owed $120 million in damages — even states that the lawsuit could become a class action reverse racism suit worth upwards of $1 billion, according to Cummings’ attorney.
“It’s a scandal,” Cummings’ attorney, Tom Liotti, told the Daily News. “There is blatant racism and reverse discrimination in the public schools of New York City. This is why white parents do not want to send their children there.”
Liotti said it's time for the Board of Education to wake up to reverse racism.
“It’s no longer the Blacks and minorities who are being discriminated against,” he said. “It is discrimination against white teachers who are making great sacrifices to be there.”
(Photo: CBS Local New York)
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