Black teacher fired for word 'negro' - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

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>>

  • Chris Rock gets foul ball at Yankees game

    Chris Rock gets foul ball at Yankees game

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:03 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:03:11 GMT
    Chris Rock almost made the play of the day at Yankee Stadium. Instead, the comedian wound up with a nice prize -- a foul ball that nearly landed in his lap during Thursday's game between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.
    Chris Rock almost made the play of the day at Yankee Stadium. Instead, the comedian wound up with a nice prize -- a foul ball that nearly landed in his lap during Thursday's game between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.
  • Official: NYPD body cameras are 'win-win'

    Official: NYPD body cameras are 'win-win'

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:02 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:02:35 GMT
    Public Advocate Letitia James says a 3-ounce camera, if used correctly, could be a key tool in improving community and police relations. She showed off one of the cameras she believes NYPD patrol officers need to be wearing. She said that the cameras would be a "win-win" for the public, transparency, police accountability improving police community relations, reducing civil liability.
    Public Advocate Letitia James says a 3-ounce camera, if used correctly, could be a key tool in improving community and police relations. She showed off one of the cameras she believes NYPD patrol officers need to be wearing. She said that the cameras would be a "win-win" for the public, transparency, police accountability improving police community relations, reducing civil liability.
  • NYC Council bill to make kids' fast food healthier

    NYC Council bill to make kids' fast food healthier

    Thursday, August 21 2014 12:09 PM EDT2014-08-21 16:09:22 GMT
    Happy Meals might soon need to get healthier.  A New York City councilman is introducing legislation that would set stricter nutritional standards for meals served with toys.
    Happy Meals might soon need to get healthier.  A New York City councilman is introducing legislation that would set stricter nutritional standards for meals served with toys.
Powered by WorldNow

KSAZ-TV & KUTP
511 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phone: (602) 257-1234
Fax: (602) 262-0177

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