A social studies teacher of Bronx Middle School 118 said she’s a victim of reverse racism and has begun a lawsuit for $120 million in damages.
Patricia Cummings sparked outrage in February after she reportedly made Black students lie on the floor during a teaching lesson and stepped on their backs to show them what it felt like to be a slave.
However, the plaintiff and her attorney said the accusations made against her were complete lies.
“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.”
Cummings gave her version of what happened and said she took advantage of a “teachable moment.” She’d just shown her students a snipped of the movie “Freedom” and called on four volunteers to sit close together to show them “cramped conditions” on a slave ship. She denied having any physical contact with any of the children and making them lie on the floor.
In the teacher’s Notice of Claim, she’s attempting to sue “the city, parents, students and the media” for defamation, negligence, discrimination and other claims. She also claimed that investigators of the Education Department didn’t take account of a witness and evidence which backed up her version of events.
Liotti said his client was mistreated and called for the Board of Education to take reverse racism seriously.
“It’s no longer the blacks and minorities who are being discriminated against,” said the attorney. “It is discrimination against white teachers who are making great sacrifices to be there.” He added, “The Bronx has been described by some as a ‘war zone.’ White teachers who work there should get combat pay.”
Cummings was sent a discontinuance notice on Sept. 17 by Education Department officials, marking that she had 30 days until termination. The social studies teacher held a probationary position and has an opportunity to challenge the process.
Doug Cohen, the DOE spokesman, said a thorough investigation concluded that Cummings’ actions were of 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,” said Cohen. “We’ll review this baseless lawsuit.”
Liotti said he and his client are going to teach a lesson to those who wrongly accused Cummings.
“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.”