Principal Patricia Catania is the subject of new allegations that claim the educator and leader is racist and banning lessons about African-American history at Intermediate School 224 in the Bronx. There have been complaints against the principal at the Bronx school from teachers, students and parents, according to the New York Daily News.
Al Sharpton has also weighed in on the matter on Facebook. As a result of the complaints, Catania is being investigated by the Department of Education, with the educator’s $154,257 yearly salary now in jeopardy due to those who are writing on social media that Patricia should be fired. She has worked in city schools for 26 years, but students of color and teachers of color are claiming that Patricia has hindered them from learning and teaching lessons about the Harlem Renaissance, a period of time that saw the strides of artists like Josephine Baker or writers like Zora Neal Hurston.
A 45-year-old English teacher named Mercedes Liriano called Catania “racist” and said that she has attempted to stop the flow of black history lessons at a school that is 95 percent black and Hispanic. Mercedes said she began to teach class Wednesday and was pulled aside and told by Patricia to stop teaching about the Harlem Renaissance period, which featured great strides by blacks in literature and art fields.
Catania’s tone was called harsh as she allegedly berated the teacher for teaching her students about black history. In spite of the principal’s demands, the teacher returned to her room and kept teaching them the lessons.
Students and teachers wore all black the day after the controversial incident to protest Catania. A petition was also begun. Students confronted their principal and asked why they couldn’t learn about black history and were told that they weren’t learning anything.
Catania did not give a comment to the publication but directed a reporter from the New York Daily News to the Department of Education. That department noted that Catania doesn’t have a disciplinary history, but teachers accuse the principal of having “racist” interactions with other teachers and students. The principal allegedly said that teachers of color are only good at controlling their students and don’t have deep knowledge of subjects.