Teacher Reportedly Stepped on Black Student's Back to Teach Her 'How It Feels to Be a Slave' & Parents Demand Consequences

New York Daily News

An entire New York community has been suspended in shock and anger after being notified that a teacher stepped on a black child as part of a disturbing lesson on slavery. Now, in the wake of this startling event at a New York City middle school, the teacher is being investigated and parents are demanding repercussions


Students involved in the lesson at the Bronx school told New York Daily News that about two weeks ago, social studies teacher Patricia Cummings ordered some of the black seventh graders in her classes to get on their stomachs on the ground during a lesson about the transatlantic slave trade. "She had students lie on the floor," an anonymous student told Daily News. "She was measuring the length and width to show how little space slaves had in the ship. It was strange."

More from CafeMom: Mom Claims Daycare Workers Secretly Waxed Her 2-Year-Old's Eyebrows

Official reports from the students claim that while the kids were on the floor, one girl joked about not feeling comfortable in her position. In reaction, Cummings allegedly put her foot on the girl's back. "How does it feel?" she reportedly asked. "See how it feels to be a slave?" Students say that Cummings performed this lesson in multiple classes throughout the day. 

Middle School 118, where Cummings teaches, is 60 percent Latino, 21 percent black, 16 percent Asian, and 3 percent white. The Huffington Post reports that Cummings, who has taught at the school since 2016, was removed from her classroom a few days after the incident. The teacher returned to her classroom last Thursday but was again removed before being reassigned to a post without children. 

On February 2, Middle School 118 sent a letter home to parents explaining the incident that occurred. The letter said that the school is "deeply concerned" about the allegations and assured parents that "every precaution will continue to be taken to ensure the safety of [the] students." 

NBC New York

NBC New York spoke with Toya Holness, an official from the Department of Education, confirming an official investigation is under way. "While the investigation has not been completed, these are deeply disturbing allegations, and the alleged behavior has no place in our schools or in society," she said.  

According to NBC New York, many of Cummings's students enjoy her as a teacher. Still, parents of students at Middle School 118 are insisting that the teacher be properly reprimanded for her actions. "To take your feet, step on the kid's back, that's a sign of disrespect, racism, and everything else," said father Andrew Sims. 

More from CafeMom: YouTube Star Who Posted Video of Dead Body Says Parents Should 'Monitor' What Kids Watch

Another parent, Benjamin Caceres, said that he understands and supports creativity in classrooms but stresses that discretion is key. "I'm all for students learning, but there should be boundaries, and there's certain things that just shouldn't be done," he added.

Read More >