‘How does it feel to be a slave?’ Teacher suspended for stepping on Black students during history lesson
I don’t even know where to start…
by Katie Way
Patricia Cummings, pictured above, was disciplined for making Black middle school students lie on the floor and stepping on at least one of them to teach them a lesson about U.S. slavery, inadvertently teaching them that racism is alive and well in the process.
Cummings included the demonstration in a seventh grade history lesson at Middle School 118 in the Bronx, New York. She was trying to emulate the Middle Passage for educational purposes, according to the New York Daily News.
Reason 2938 of why I’m becoming a teacher. Fuck these white bitches from westchester & long island who try & teach our children this way. pic.twitter.com/tLteDZY2Iy
— spicy t. (@taycamsx) February 2, 2018
One of Cummings' students spoke anonymously to the New York Daily News about the demonstration. “It was a lesson about slavery and the Triangle Trade,” said one of Cummings’ students, who asked to remain anonymous.
“She picked three of the Black kids,” the boy said. Cummings then instructed them to get on the floor in front of the class. “She said, ‘You see how it was to be a slave?’ She said, ‘How does it feel?’”
she didn’t run this by anyone first to see what they thought? https://t.co/JoJjREN38d
— El Flaco (@bomani_jones) February 2, 2018
According to the student, Cummings included this demonstration in multiple lessons, and when a girl who'd been selected to lie on the ground tried to make a joke, Cummings stepped on her.
“She put her foot on her back and said ‘How does it feel?’” the student said. “ ‘See how it feels to be a slave?’”
The incident occurred approximately two weeks ago, and since then Cummings has been "reassigned away from children," according to the City Education Department.
But it remains to be seen if Cummings — who declined to comment on the initial report– will be fired for kicking off Black History Month in such a degrading, inappropriate way.