A white Bronx social studies teacher from MS 118, who allegedly asked Black students to lie on the floor and pretend they were slaves during a lesson on U.S. slavery, is planning to sue New York City for $1 billion after she was fired over the controversial lesson.
Patricia Cummings was fired back in September after some students complained they were humiliated when she had black students lie on the floor and stepped on their backs so that they could experience what slavery felt like, according to the Daily News. The incident occurred Jan. 9, 2018.
But on Thursday, Cummings said she initiated the lesson in good faith–and that a single student and her parent, out of the entire class, objected, according to Bossip.
Cummings added that her firing and the ensuing backlash she has faced online, has made her permanently unemployable.
“I have no career at this point,” Cummings claimed, at a press conference with her lawyer, Thomas Liotti. “That 20 seconds of a teachable moment changed my life. Anyone who has met me knows I don’t have that bone in my body,” she claimed. “I was brought up — you treat everybody the way you want to be treated.”
In September, Cummings filed a $120 million lawsuit in Suffolk County, where she lives, against the Department of Education, Mayor Bill de Blasio and various media outlets. But Liotti said he plans to build a $1 billion class-action case with other teachers who claim similar instances of reverse discrimination.
Cummings said she was initially cleared after an internal school investigation but that the case was revived after media reports on the incident. The teacher also said her suit will be supported by the testimony of a black teacher at the school who witnessed the lesson and reportedly found it effective.
The Education Department initially reassigned Cummings before firing her after an investigation, according to agency spokesman, Doug Cohen. “Ms. Cummings was terminated based on a thorough investigation and a review of her performance as an educator,” Cohen said Thursday. “We’ll review the complaint.”
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