A White teacher shocked and outraged both parents and students when she singled out Black students for a horrific lesson about slavery.
Patricia Cummings, a teacher at Middle School 118 in the Bronx, NY, reportedly traumatized her seventh-grade students during a lesson about the Middle Passage, a horrific part of the slave trade involving the kidnapping and transport of Africans.
Students said that Cummings told Black students to come and lie on the floor and even stepped on their backs.
“She picked three of the black kids,” said one of the students, according to the New York Daily News. “She said, ‘You see how it was to be a slave?’ She said, ‘How does it feel?’”
A girl who had been called to the floor tried to make an uncomfortable joke about feeling fine, so the teacher reportedly put her foot in the girl’s back.
“She put her foot on her back and said ‘How does it feel?’” the student said. “‘See how it feels to be a slave?’”
“She had students lie on the floor,” said another one of the students who was present for the ‘lesson’. “She was measuring the length and width to show how little space slaves had in the ship. It was strange.”
According to reports, students were called up to lie on the floor after the teacher had shown them video depicting slaves being mistreated. In the video, slaves had been thrown overboard off of a ship in addition to being tortured and beaten.
The teacher has since been reassigned after the Daily News asked the city Education Department about the lesson. She is reportedly no longer around children.
Currently, the slavery lesson is being investigated by the Education Department.
“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,” said Education Department spokeswoman Toya Holness.