Parents wants principal fired after she refuses to allow Black History Month lessons
Protesters, from a Bronx rally, want Principal Patricia Catania fired now, due to her refusal to allow the teaching of Black History Month lessons.
According to the NY Daily News, Principal Catania “confiscated a black history project and berated an English teacher for giving lessons about the Harlem Renaissance at a school ironically just miles from the legendary Cotton Club and Apollo Theatre.
Mercedes Liriano-Clark, an English teacher at Intermediate School 224 in the Bronx, told the NY Daily News, “The principal tried to stop black history from being taught in her class.” However, Ms. Liriano-Clark, who is black and Hispanic, said she will continue to teach an important part of not just black history but American history to her students.
In addition to trying to block black history lessons, Principal Catania has also been accused of taking away a poster board created by Liriano-Clark and a student for a Black History Month presentation.
Liriano-Clark brought the poster to the National Action Network headquarters as part of a rally against Catania’s ban on her Black history lessons. When the students who created the poster tried to retrieve it, Catania apparently locked it away in her office with no explanation.
What went wrong
Liriano-Clark learned about the principal’s removal of the poster when one of the girls who worked on the poster came to her in tears.
“She came to me crying, and she was like, ‘Miss I didn’t get the board. Miss Catania took them away from me,’” Liriano-Clark told the New York Daily News.
“She was like, ‘Oh I’m gonna take it upstairs,’” said the student who name was not released. “She ran inside her office and wouldn’t give it back to me. She don’t like me ’cause I like Miss Liriano.”
Catania did eventually give the poster back but Liriano-Clark is simply shocked by Catania’s response.
“If she has a personal vendetta against me, let it be towards me and not towards the children,” Liriano-Clark said. “The fact that she took kids’ work and hid it in her office, I don’t know why she would do that.”
A representative for the Education Department has confirmed that complaints regarding Catania’s behavior are being investigated.
Rev. Kevin McCall, crisis director at the National Action Network, is now leading calls for Catania to be removed for not allowing students to explore Black History Month.
“She’s putting her own self in the pit,” said McCall. “We want her to continue to show her racial overtones and we want her to continue to show how racist she is.”
However, Sandra Maisonet, a friend and former colleague of Catania’s contends that this is all just a big misunderstanding and that Catania is being painted as a villain, when she is actually a victim. “I’ve known her for over 20 years. I worked with her at another school. I do know her, and I can say she’s a wonderful human being. They have an agenda. This is wrong.”
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