Black teacher fired for word 'negro' - FOX 35 News Orlando

Black teacher fired for word 'negro'

Posted: Updated:
  • MyFoxNY PhotosMore>>

  • Mug Shots

    Mug Shots

    See arrest photos, including some of the most unique and note-worthy mug shots.
    This information was supplied by law enforcement . All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law
By NY Post -

A Bronx teacher says her language lesson was lost in translation when she was fired for calling a student "Negro" — though she claims she was simply using the Spanish word for the color "black" at the time, according to a new lawsuit.

The non-tenured junior high instructor, Petrona Smith, 65, was booted from the bilingual PS 211 in March 2012 after a seventh-grader reported the alleged insult.

Smith, who is black and a native of the West Indies, has been unemployed since her ouster.

"They haven't even accounted for how absurd it is for someone who's black to be using a racial slur to a student," said Shaun Reid, Smith's attorney. "Talk about context! There's a lot of things wrong here."

The instructor took a hiatus from teaching special education in 2005 to learn Spanish in South America, because she was passionate about learning the language in a cultural context, Reid said.

Smith was also accused of calling her students "failures."

But in court papers she claims that second insult was also a misinterpretation.

Smith had allegedly asked students who had failed a test to move to the back of the room, but says she never called them failures.

She denied calling the student a "Negro," and explained to investigators that she was teaching a lesson about how to say different colors in Spanish and said the word "negro," which is Spanish for the color black. She told her students that it was not a derogatory term and that the Spanish word for a black person was "moreno."

She added that she'd been verbally abused by her charges, including being called a "f---ing monkey," a "cockroach" and a "n---r," but had never stooped to their level.

A 2011 investigation substantiated the student's undated claims based on accounts from four seventh-grade witnesses, even though the student's own parents said he'd lied about the event.

A spokeswoman for the city Law Department said, "We have received the papers and will review them."

 READ MORE AT NYPOST

  • Bronx NewsBronx NewsMore>>

  • MTA, union reach deal for transit workers

    MTA, union reach deal for transit workers

    Thursday, April 17 2014 5:09 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:09:38 GMT
    Transit officials and the union representing about 34,000 city subway and bus workers reached a tentative contract deal that would include raises and new benefits but require higher health insurance payments, both sides and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.
    Transit officials and the union representing about 34,000 city subway and bus workers reached a tentative contract deal that would include raises and new benefits but require higher health insurance payments, both sides and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.
  • Memo urges cops to use discretion for jaywalking summonses

    Memo urges cops to use discretion for jaywalking summonses

    Thursday, April 17 2014 1:57 PM EDT2014-04-17 17:57:48 GMT
    A memo from NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton instructs police officers to use discretion when ticketing elderly and disabled pedestrians for jaywalking. This comes after an 84-year-old jaywalker was injured during his arrest on the Upper West Side in January. The memo which was was dated April 15 reads:  "Use discretion when elderly or handicapped persons are observed jaywalking.... If pedestrian actions are not causing a safety risk... warn and admonish the violator instead."
    A memo from NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton instructs police officers to use discretion when ticketing elderly and disabled pedestrians for jaywalking. This comes after an 84-year-old jaywalker was injured during his arrest on the Upper West Side in January. The memo which was was dated April 15 reads in part:  "Use discretion when elderly or handicapped persons are observed jaywalking.... If pedestrian actions are not causing a safety risk... warn and admonish the violator instead."
  • Court extends NYPD officer's weapons case in India

    Court extends NYPD officer's weapons case in India

    Thursday, April 17 2014 6:57 AM EDT2014-04-17 10:57:01 GMT
    An Indian court says it won't rule before July 1 on the case of a New York City police officer arrested in New Delhi on a weapons charge. The New York Police Department says Manny Encarnacion was arrested in March after Indian authorities discovered three bullets he had accidentally packed in his luggage. He is out on bail but has been barred from leaving India until the case is resolved.
    An Indian court says it won't rule before July 1 on the case of a New York City police officer arrested in New Delhi on a weapons charge. The New York Police Department says Manny Encarnacion was arrested in March after Indian authorities discovered three bullets he had accidentally packed in his luggage. He is out on bail but has been barred from leaving India until the case is resolved.
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices