Black teacher fired for word 'negro' - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.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>>

  • Baby gorillas on display at Bronx Zoo

    Baby gorillas on display at Bronx Zoo

    Thursday, April 24 2014 3:53 PM EDT2014-04-24 19:53:44 GMT
    WCS photoWCS photo
    Two endangered gorillas born at the Bronx Zoo in March and April are now making appearances at the zoo's famous Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. The baby western lowland gorillas are the 14th and 15th gorillas born at the exhibit since it opened in 1999. The Bronx Zoo has had 50 gorilla births since 1972. The gender of the newborns is unknown for now, WCS said.
    Two endangered gorillas born at the Bronx Zoo in March and April are now making appearances at the zoo's famous Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. The baby western lowland gorillas are the 14th and 15th gorillas born at the exhibit since it opened in 1999. The Bronx Zoo has had 50 gorilla births since 1972. The gender of the newborns is unknown for now, WCS said.
  • Boy dies in Bronx high rise plunge

    Boy dies in Bronx high rise plunge

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:46 AM EDT2014-04-24 10:46:34 GMT
    A 9-year-old boy plunged to his death out of a 30-story building in the Bronx.  It happened at about 5:05 p.m. on Wednesday.
    A 9-year-old boy plunged to his death out of a 30-story building in the Bronx.  It happened at about 5:05 p.m. on Wednesday.
  • God's Love We Deliver virtual bake sale for birthday cakes

    God's Love We Deliver virtual bake sale for birthday cakes

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:36 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:36:46 GMT
    God's Love We Deliver provides meals to people in the New York City area who are too sick to shop and cook for themselves. Clients also receive birthday cards that are decorated by local school students. Sometimes a cake is the only birthday gift that God's Love's clients will receive.
    God's Love We Deliver provides meals to people in the New York City area who are too sick to shop and cook for themselves. Clients also receive birthday cards that are decorated by local school students. Sometimes a cake is the only birthday gift that God's Love's clients will receive.
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 | Terms of Service | Ad Choices