NYC Principal Accused of Calling Black Teachers Racial Slurs

The NYC Department of Education building (Panoramic Images/Getty Images)
The NYC Department of Education building (Panoramic Images/Getty Images)

In Queens, N.Y., Minerva Zanca, principal of Pan American International High School, has been accused of calling several black teachers "gorillas" and talking about their "nappy hair" and "big lips," according to the Huffington Post. The teachers have filed complaints with the Department of Education Office of Equal Opportunity.

Members of the New York City Department of Education are also coming under fire from parents and teachers who protested outside the department's building and demanded an investigation by authorities.

Two of the teachers, who were fired, say they were victims of harassment and that their poor performance ratings were a result of racial discrimination. Another teacher, who quit, said she also felt targeted because of her race.

In a witness statement, the school’s assistant principal, Anthony Riccardo confirmed their claims. He said Zanca called the teachers “gorillas” and made comments about their “big lips” and “nappy hair,” according to WNYC.

“We’re the only African-American teachers, and all three of us have left — which means there is no African-American teachers at the school when over half the population of the students look like us,” Lisa-Erika James, the teacher who quit, told CBS New York.


Read more at the Huffington Post.

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Jozen Cummings is the author and creator of the popular relationship blog Until I Get Married, which is currently in development for a television series with Warner Bros. He also hosts a weekly podcast with WNYC about Empire called Empire Afterparty, is a contributor at and works at Twitter as an editorial curator. Follow him on Twitter.

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