Parents storm City Hall in slavery incident protest

Nayaba Arinde | 2/9/2018, 11:35 a.m.
Singing and chanting in English and Spanish, dozens of heavy-coated and woolly hat-wearing parents and activists stormed the doors at ...
Education advocates rally in front of city hall

“We met with Ms. Wolfe and Stacy Lynch from Intergovernmental Affairs,” said Capers. “We were assured we would get a meeting to discuss our priorities and we stated that it needs to be done quickly and that we needed a date before the end of the week.”

Capers, a Brooklyn mother of two and coordinator of the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, told the Amsterdam News that had the mayor listened to the Coalition for Educational Justice and public school parents last year, this incident might not have occurred, as they “have repeatedly and publicly called on Mayor de Blasio to address racism and bias in schools through Culturally Responsive Education, and have been ignored and minimized.”

Capers explained, “Culturally Responsive Education is a research-based strategy that increases teachers’ awareness, skills and comfort with teaching diverse populations, but the mayor and the NYC Department of Education have resisted implementing it on a large scale in NYC.”

“There is a clear need for the administration to be more proactive in mandating Culturally Responsive Education in our schools,” said Councilmember Jumaane Williams. “We should not have to wait for grotesque events of cultural insensitivity to mar our classrooms in order to spur action, and I sincerely hope we don’t have to wait for the next one.”

“Educators teaching in a city as diverse as ours should be given cultural competency training,” said Daniel Dromm, NYC Council Finance Committee chair. “This is the only way to avoid similar traumatic experiences like what happened in the Bronx. Therefore, I stand with the Coalition for Educational Justice in calling on the administration to implement Culturally Responsive Education in NYC immediately.”

The Coalition for Educational Justice stated, “Because of the mayor’s inaction, dozens of students have been victimized and traumatized. ... Racist and psychically damaging incidents like this are treated as isolated incidents by the de Blasio administration. But last year, a teacher ripped the hijab off a Bronx Muslim child. In 2013, two teachers used whipping and killing slaves in a lesson about subtracting and multiplying, and were never disciplined. We fear how many other incidents like this are occurring every day in NYC schools and never coming to light.”

“This outrageous, racist incident demonstrates the city’s failure to address racial bias and cultural competence, and to teach students of color their history,” said Angel Martinez, Harlem mother of three and CEJ parent leader. “While the teacher must be held accountable, responsibility rests with Mayor de Blasio, who has insisted on mayoral control. When it comes to Culturally Responsive Education, the mayor has ignored parents’ calls for action, which leads to incidents like this one and daily incidents of bias and microaggressions. Many educators are prepared on how to effectively address issues of race. Eighty-three percent of our public school students are students of color, but 100 percent need a school system that promotes Culturally Responsive Education. We demand that Mayor de Blasio apologize to these Bronx students and their families, provide counseling support to the students who were affected and immediately commit to implement Culturally Responsive Education throughout New York City public schools.”