Students at Intermediate School 224 were brought to tears Tuesday when their principal confiscated their black history project commemorating music legend Lena Horne.
Blavity previously reported about Patricia Catania, the Bronx Principal who put a ban on teaching black history. Nearly 90-95 percent of the school's students are black or Hispanic. Now it appears her disdain for the subject has made her take it a step further. The NY Daily News reports that the alleged racist took a poster of African-American musical genius Lena Horne that two students created for a class presentation.
The principal crushed the spirits of students when she confiscated a poster of African-American musical genius Lena Horne https://t.co/oABPotpxYr
An early look at Wednesday's front… pic.twitter.com/PBykIdXFwK
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 14, 2018
English teacher Mercedes Liriano-Clark says the poster was created as an aide by two sixth grade students. The 11-year-old girl, who created the poster with a classmate, was brought to tears by the incident. Catania has given no explanation.
Liriano-Clark said Catania seized the poster after a student retrieved it from Liriano-Clark’s car.
“She came to me crying, and she was like, ‘Miss I didn’t get the board. Miss Catania took them away from me,’ ” Liriano-Clark recalled the girl telling her.
“She was like, ‘Oh I’m gonna take it upstairs,’ ” the student creator told The Daily News. “She ran inside her office and wouldn’t give it back to me. She don’t like me ’cause I like Miss Liriano.”
“If she has a personal vendetta against me, let it be towards me and not towards the children,” Liriano-Clark continued. “The fact that she took kids’ work and hid it in her office, I don’t know why she would do that.”
Catania eventually gave the poster back, but she has yet to speak on why she took it.
Catania has a history of racism. Staffers from Catania’s old school said she targeted black teachers there and created a hostile environment.
“It is an open secret that the majority of the University Neighborhood High School African American staff does not have a voice and are targeted for excess,” states a letter former staffers said they sent to the city education department in 2013.
The letter then details a list of “actual incidents indicative of prejudice against Afro-Americans and Hispanics at University Neighborhood High School,” including acts by Catania.
Rev. Kevin McCall, who is the crisis director at the National Action Network and a supporter of the students and staffers of IS 224, said Catania should be replaced.
“She’s putting her own self in the pit,” said McCall. “We want her to continue to show her racial overtones and we want her to continue to show how racist she is.”
City education department officials wouldn’t say why Catania took the poster, but Bronx superintendent Richard Cintron is being dispatched to the school Wednesday to learn more about the matter.