Patricia Cummings is a seventh and eighth grade teacher who allegedly stepped on students’ backs during a lesson on slavery.
Cummings grabbed headlines earlier this year after the news broke but the white teacher is now suing the New York City Board of Education over what she says are false allegations of racism.
Patricia Cummings served until a few months ago as a social studies teacher at William W. Niles School-Middle School 118 in the Bronx. She had also served as cheerleading coach since September 2016.
Cummings has been suspended from teaching, but is still being paid.
Back in February, Patricia Cummings was accused of ordering students to lay down, and then put her knees into their backs to imitate how slaves were treated. Cummings refutes accusations.
A student told the New York Daily News at the time, “She was measuring the length and width to show how little space slaves had in the ship. It was strange,” one student told the outlet.
Another student said “It was a lesson about slavery and the Triangle Trade,” “She picked three of the black kids” and instructed them to lie on the floor, the boy said. “She said, ‘You see how it was to be a slave?’ She said, ‘How does it feel?”
37-year-old Cummings has said in legal papers that the incident never happened She did say in the claim that she did have four student volunteers sit very close together for demonstration of cramped conditions. However, Cummings “denies that any student laid on the floor at any time during the demonstration and denies making any physical contact with any student.”
The Long Island resident is apparently now planning to sue the city and has filed a notice of claim seeking $120 million in damages, saying that she has been defamed. Cummings also accuses the media of defamation and that her civil rights have been violated. Cummings who keeps a website, also wants to be returned to the classroom.
The blonde teacher received a Masters of Arts in Teaching, Social Studies from SUNY College at Old Westbury in December 2013. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Music with a Specialization of Vocal Performance from Adelphi University and is a NYS certified teacher with Initial Certification in Social Studies 7-12.