New York City Principal Under Investigation After Allegedly Blocking Black History Lesson

A New York City principal is under investigation by city officials after allegedly blocking a Black History lesson. Protestors, including parents and educators, gathered at the school I.S. 224, which is comprised of 95% black and Hispanic students, at the start of the school day and again at the end demanding the termination of Principal Patricia Catania.

“A black teacher was told she could not continue her Black History Month lesson,”Natasha Capers, coordinator of NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, said in a statement. “She was told that was not her subject area. She was told that is a social studies subject. We all know that black history is a part of every subject.”

The English teacher, Mercedes Liriano-Clark, who was allegedly pulled aside by Catania after she was observed teaching students about the 1920’s Harlem Renaissance in art and literature, told The New York Daily News: “She’s trying to stop us from teaching our students about their own culture.”

According to the paper, a friend of the principal said she was being miscast and misunderstood, telling protestors: “I’ve known her for over 20 years. I worked with her at another school. I do know her, and I can say she’s a wonderful human being. They have an agenda. This is wrong.”

Education Department spokesman Douglas Cohen told the newspaper that an investigation is underway and confirmed that students will continue receiving an education in Black History. “African-American history is an important part of the school’s curriculum,” Cohen said. “Students are currently working on projects related to Black History Month that will be presented and highlighted at the end of February.”