A former teacher said she plans to sue the New York City Department of Education and others for $1 billion after she was fired for allegedly placing her knee in the back of a student during a lesson about slavery.
Patricia Cummings said the school’s investigation into the incident found no proof that she pressed her knee into the student’s back during the 2018 incident, WABC Eyewitness News reports.
The ex-teacher, who taught at William W Niles School in the Bronx section of New York City, added that she instructed her students to sit next to one another on the classroom floor to show them how close slaves were to one another on slave ships.
Students said Cummings, who is White, made the Black students lie facedown onto the floor and placed her knee into a student’s back and said, “How does it feel? See how it feels to be a slave.”
She was fired from her role for exercising bad judgment, according to the school district. Cummings said she was fired because of her race.
“Ms. Cummings is a dedicated and competent teacher, who should never have been subjected to these false accusations, which have damaged her career and her reputation,” her attorney, Thomas Liotti, told WABC. “This is a case of blatant reverse discrimination.”
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.