What to Know
- The city's DOE reassigned a Bronx teacher following accusations that she walked on students' backs as part of a slavery lesson
- Students at MS 118 allege that Patricia Cummings singled out black students, told them to lie on the floor, then stepped on their backs
- Students say that Cummings taught the lesson using the stunt in multiple seventh-grade classes, the Daily News reports
A New York City teacher is under fire for allegedly walking on students' backs as part of a slavery lesson.
Students at Middle School 118 allege that teacher Patricia Cummings, who is white, singled out black students, told them to lie on the floor, then stepped on their backs to show them what slavery felt like during a lesson about two weeks ago, the Daily News reports.
Students say that Cummings taught the lesson using the same insensitive stunt in multiple seventh-grade classes, according to the Daily News.
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Local residents and parents were shocked over the alleged incident that took place at the school, which has a student body population that is 16 percent Asian, 21 percent black, 60 percent Hispanic and 3 percent white.
A parent who spoke with NBC New York said she heard about the class lesson from other parents. Though her son attends the school, he does not have Cummings as a teacher, she said.
Parent Tamika Lasane said she couldn't believe someone would do that to a child.
Several students who had Cummings as a teacher, said she was one of their favorite teachers and they were dissappointed by the allegations.
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The Daily News says Cummings was asked by a reporter after school Thursday if she stepped on the backs of black students, but she refused to discuss her alleged lesson, saying she was "not talking to anyone."
Cummings was reassigned away from children on Thursday.
“While the investigation has not been completed, these are deeply disturbing allegations, and the alleged behavior has no place in our schools or in society,” Department of Education spokeswoman Toya Holness said in a statement.
According to the Department of Education, Cummings has been a teacher at the middle school since since 2016 and has no prior disciplinary issues.