Parents in the Bronx are outraged this week after a white teacher allegedly singled out black students, instructed them to lie on the floor, and then stepped on their backs as part of a lesson on slavery, the New York Daily News reports.
Students and a staffer say that Patricia Cummings, a social studies teacher at Middle School 118, did this during multiple seventh grade classes while teaching students about slavery and the Triangle Trade. One student, who chose to remain anonymous, told the Daily News that Cummings, after instructing three black students to lie on the floor in front of the class, said, "You see how it was to be a slave?" and "How does it feel?"
After one of the students on the floor joked about feeling fine, Cummings allegedly took things a step further.
"She put her foot on her back and said 'How does it feel? See how it feels to be a slave?'" the student continued.
Cummings was reassigned away from children on Thursday, NBC News reports, and when asked by a reporter if she had stepped on the backs of students, she declined to comment.
Said Education Department spokeswoman Toya Holness in a statement, "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."