Teachers Gather At City Hall, Demand City DOE Settle Racial Discrimination Suit

Rich Lamb
January 20, 2020 - 3:00 pm
City Hall NYC

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- On this MLK Day, protesters gathered at City Hall demanding the city resolve a seven-year old civil rights case that goes to trial next month.

The action was brought by African-American teachers at Pan American International High School in Queens who claim that in 2013, their principal referred to them using insulting and racially insensitive language, WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reports.

"I just want to say words like 'big lipped, nappy haired gorillas' are words that shouldn't be used at all,'" said teacher Lisa Erica James.

James, who now teaches at LaGuardia High School, said the principal also defunded her award-winning theater program, Lamb reported.

"So there was no money in the budget when I was there, but then when I left, money miraculously showed up with another teacher who was Latino and of light skin," James said.

The city's law department says it does not believe the teacher's claims can be substantiated, Lamb reported.

The case is set to go to court Feb. 4.