A former New York City teacher is heading to court after she was accused of forcing black students to lie on the floor while she stood on their backs during a lesson about slavery. Following her termination in October, Patricia Cummings said she was the victim of reverse discrimination and is now ramping up a $1 billion class-action lawsuit.
“I have no career at this point,” Cummings said at a Thursday press conference, per the New York Post, describing how the allegation made against her has affected her life.
Cummings says the accusation that she stepped on students’ backs is a lie, though she acknowledges that she had her students sit close together on the floor to demonstrate the conditions on slave ships.
“Ms. Cummings is a dedicated and competent teacher who should never have been subjected to these false accusations, which have damaged her career and her reputation,” Cummings’s attorney, Thomas Liotti, told local affiliate ABC 7 on Thursday. “This is a case of blatant reverse discrimination.” Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to Liotti for further comment.
The 37-year-old former teacher said at Thursday’s press conference that the testimony of a black teacher who saw the slavery lesson in question will clear her name.
“Anyone who has met me knows I don’t have that bone in my body,” Cummings said. “I was brought up — you treat everybody the way you want to be treated.”
Cummings filed a $120 million lawsuit against the New York City Department of Education and other city agencies, as reported by the Post, but Liotti says they’re also building a class-action case with other alleged victims of reverse discrimination. He believes that case is worth $1 billion.
The New York City Department of Education, however, said in a statement to ABC 7 that Cummings was terminated “based on a thorough investigation and a review of her performance as an educator,” adding that it will review her complaint.
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