Queens, NY – A Queens, New York principal is facing accusations of making racist remarks about several employees, allegedly suggesting one black teacher looked like a gorilla.
A Pan American International High School principle, Minerva Zanca, is facing possible termination for purportedly making scathingly offensive, racially charged remarks about the black members of her staff, reports the Huffington Post. Zanca is Caucasian.
Several teachers recently filed complaints with the Department of Education Office of Equal Opportunity, documenting the principal racist remarks and harassing behavior.
The D.O.E. has a strict anti-discriminatory policy that is meant to protect employees from discrimination based on race, color, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.
Two of the former employees, teachers John Flanagan and Heather Hightower, indicated they were fired following harassment and poor performance ratings, given due to blatant racial discrimination for being black.
Hightower taught English as a Second Language science classes and Flanagan was a Spanish teacher.
Another teacher, Lisa-Erika James, expressed similar racial tensions after her theater program was shut down.
Anthony Riccardo – the school’s assistant principal who too has been fighting to keep his job – confirmed many of the unfavorable claims in a witness statement, saying Zanca made racist remarks when she referred to an African American teacher and said she “looks like a gorilla in that sweater,” reports WNYC.
Additionally, she made equally offensive comments citing big lips and nappy hair, saying “I could never have hair like that.”
Now the matter of the principle making racist remarks specifically about black educators is under investigation.
The Pan American School opened just a few years ago and got a D rating on its past two report cards from the city. It serves new immigrant students who are not yet fluent in English, nearly all of whom are Hispanic; 91 percent of the students are English-language learners.
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