In the middle of Black History Month, the last thing you want to hear is someone hating on all the brilliance and beauty of our shining stars and their contributions. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened at one Bronx, N.Y. middle school where the principal banned all Black History Month content from lesson plans.
At Intermediate School 224 in the Bronx, principal Patricia Catania is reportedly under investigation by the New York City Department of Education for not only barring Black History Month lessons from being taught in the classroom, but also for “racially hostile actions against staff and students of color.” The Root has the full account of Catania’s history of racist behavior, as well as further details regarding the investigation.
Via The Root:
As the New York Daily News reports, eight current or former educators from the Bronx middle school and five students relayed allegations of racism and creating a hostile environment against 26-year education veteran Patricia Catania.This includes barring a veteran English teacher from presenting a lesson about the Harlem Renaissance to her sixth- and seventh-grade students.
Mercedes Liriano, who has been working at the middle school for more than 10 years, told the Daily News that Catania pulled her aside before the start of her class Wednesday and told her not to give the lesson. “She said I’m not a social studies teacher so why am I teaching my students about black history?” Liriano said. “Her tone was very harsh, as if I committed a heinous crime.”
Liriano proceeded with her lesson anyway, but the event sparked protest from her students and fellow educators, who wore black the next day to show their disapproval of Catania’s policies. Students told the Daily News that about three-quarters of the school’s 353 students participated in the protest.
Sadly, this is far from an isolated incident of racism at NYC schools, as several similar cases have been reported recently and prompted protests to address the disheartening issue.
Some of the prior incidents include a Queens student from putting his namesake, Malcolm X, on his senior sweater. This incident was preceded by a Bronx middle school teacher who sparked outrage after stepping on the backs of Black students to give a lesson in “how it feels to be a slave.”
Catania refused to speak to media about the allegations. However, the investigation is ongoing.