A Bronx social studies teacher who has been terminated for allegedly asking black students to lie on the floor and pretend they were slaves during a lesson on U.S. slavery is now suing the city and Board of Education for $120 million in damages for what she claims is reverse racism.
In her Notice of Claim, which was filed by her attorneys against “the city, parents, students and the media,” Patricia Cummings, teacher at Middle School 118, said the school’s version of events is wrong. Cummings said she was the victim of reverse racism, defamation and negligence.
“It’s a scandal,” Cummings’ attorney Tom Liotti told The New York 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.”
“It’s no longer the blacks and minorities who are being discriminated against,” Liotti added. “It is discrimination against white teachers who are making great sacrifices to be there.”
Liotti said the lawsuit could grow upwards of $1 billion if it becomes a class action reverse racism suit.
The Daily News first broke the story in February that Cummings allegedly singled out black students in her class for a lesson on slavery in the United States. She then had them lie on the floor and stepped on their backs so they could experience what slavery felt like, the Daily News reported.
Cummings offers a different version of the Jan. 9th incident, according to the Daily News. In her version, she showed the class a five-minute clip from the movie “Freedom” and then asked four student volunteers to sit close together to demonstrate the “cramped conditions” aboard a slavery ship crossing the Middle Passage. She denied asking any child to lie on the floor or making physical contact with any student.
However, DOE spokesman Doug Cohen said an investigation into the incident determined Cummings 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 told the newspaper. “We’ll review this baseless lawsuit.”
Cummings implicates Mayor de Blasio, Councilman Jumaane Williams, additional politicians and even Power 105 radio host Charlamagne Tha God for wrongly humiliating her and labeling her a racist, according to her Notice of Claim. Cummings lawyer applauds his client for working under adverse conditions in the Bronx, which he said has been described by some as a “war zone.”
“White teachers who work there should get combat pay,” Liotti told the Daily News.
“This is a case of blatant, reverse discrimination and we are going to teach the City and those responsible a lesson. This goes for Mayor de Blasio who will have to learn that his constituents are multi-ethnic, racial and religious. They include white people and dedicated teachers,” Liotti added.