A New York City middle school principal has been demoted following an investigation into allegations that she had barred teachers from giving Black History Month lessons.
The Department of Education (DOE) has removed Patricia Catania from her position at Intermediate School 224, in the Bronx; she will start her new job this fall as assistant principal at Health Opportunities High School, just one mile away, DOE spokesperson Danielle Filson told the New York Daily News. Deborah Sanabria will step in and serve as acting principal for the remainder of the year.
Catania, who has been with the district for 26 years, served her last day at the middle school on Thursday. Her departure came months after both students and colleagues claimed she was racist and biased against black students and teachers since her arrival at the school in 2016.
According to NYC DOE statistics, 97 percent of students at IS 224 are black or Hispanic.
"She's racist. She's trying to stop us from teaching our students about their own culture," Mercedes Liriano, an English teacher at IS 224, said in February 2018 regarding Catania. At least 71 students signed a petition demanding Catania allow Liriano to continue to teach about the Harlem Renaissance and Frederick Douglass' writings.
A teacher at Intermediate School 224 tried to teach students about the Harlem Renaissance — but was allegedly blocked by her principal. #thisisthebronx https://t.co/xDoMisLa1x pic.twitter.com/NoO6X9k471— thisisthebronx.info (@thisisthebronx) February 13, 2018
Catania is also accused of confiscating a student's poster of the late singer Lena Horne.
The DOE told The New York Daily News that Catania chose to leave the $164,702-a-year job at the middle school to become assistant principal at the high school, despite it earning her less at $132,000.
"We thank Principal Catania for her service at IS 224, and the Superintendent and Principal Sanabria will ensure a smooth transition through the end of the year," Filson said. "We'll work closely with the community as we identify a new leader to meet the needs of the school."
A representative for New York City DOE did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle's requests for comment.
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