slavery

New Job for NY 5th-Grade Teacher Fired Over Mock Slave Auction Sparks Protest

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What to Know

  • A state investigation last year found mock slave auctions at a private school in Bronxville "had a profoundly negative effect" on the children
  • The teacher involved, Rebecca Antinozzi, was fired from the school after the attorney general's office released its findings
  • She was hired by the Mount Vernon Board of Education on Sept. 17 to teach at a black-majority elementary school; that sparked uproar

A human resources administrator for a New York school district has resigned after the hiring of a teacher who had been fired by another school for holding a mock slave auction in class.

Denise Gagne-Kurpiewski submitted a letter of resignation Feb. 18, the Journal News reported Tuesday.

"My resignation is for personal reasons," her letter read.

Teacher Rebecca Antinozzi had held a mock slave auction in a fifth-grade class at Chapel School in Bronxville in which black students were lined up along a wall and white students bid to purchase them.

After a state attorney general investigation, Antinozzi was fired from the private Christian school. The school also agreed to diversity its staff and student body.

Antinozzi, meanwhile, was hired by the Mount Vernon Board of Education on Sept. 17 to teach at Cecil H. Parker Elementary School, where 80 percent of the students are African American.

Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton said he could not comment on whether the resignation was tied to the September hiring of Antinozzi. The administration has already changed its hiring practices, he said.

"We will continue to carefully examine our hiring practices and protocols to ensure that we hire highly qualified individuals to fill our vacancies moving forward," Hamilton said.

Gagne-Kurpiewski will continue to receive pay and benefits through the remainder of the school year and has been placed on "administrative reassignment."

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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