The NYC Department of Education Should Fire Patricia Cantania!
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On February 7, 2018 Principal Patricia Cantania - of Intermediate School 224 in The Bronx – told an English teacher to stop teaching students about the Harlem Renaissance, a historical period that boasted a wellspring of Black literature, sculpture, graphic art and poetry throughout the Harlem community from 1918 until the 1930s.
This incident, and allegations of consistent hostility by Black and Latino students and employees, were recently revealed in a New York Daily News cover story, prompting an investigation by the NYC Department of Education.
By the very next week, Cantania added insult to injury when she confiscated a poster two students created that paid tribute to famed songstress and actress Lena Horne, prompting a response from the Horne family.
Cantania’s alleged acts of hostility toward Black and Latino employees and students, coupled with a pattern of devaluing Black history, culture and therefore Black people, is unacceptable. The fact that the school’s student population is 95% Black and Latino, only underscores this principal’s inappropriate actions.
No school administrator with such racist and culturally insensitive views should lead our children! No one who devalues Black history or Black and Latino employees or children should be employed by any city agency, including the Department of Education!
Therefore, we concerned Black and Latino parents, students, educators and community members demand the following:
- That Patricia Cantania be suspended and sent home without pay while the DOE Investigation is pending.
- That Patricia Cantania be stripped of all licenses or certifications allowing her to be a school administrator, and that she be prohibited from being a school principal or teacher in NYC public schools in the future.
- That Mayor De Blasio, and D.O.E. Chancellor Carmen Farina, conduct a joint press conference reprimanding Cantania’s behavior and ensuring NYC residents, taxpayers and voters that the largest public school system in the United States does not and will not allow racist or other educationally unsound practices from any of its employees.
- That the NYC Department of Education include a provision in the Chancellor’s Regulations making the prohibition of teaching Black History in public schools punishable by suspension without pay pending investigation, and revocation of any relevant teaching or administrative licenses or certifications.
- That the NYC Department of Education address the larger issue of curriculum deficiencies concerning the history of African, Latino, Native American and Asian people by implementing the proposed "Curriculum of Inclusion."
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