Harassed Teacher Fights Back with Lawsuit

Most people would agree that society is continuing to make efforts to take steps forward when it comes to acceptance and equal rights. However, there continue to be new stories on a regular basis that come out that make it very clear that racism still exists and creates very challenging situations for a lot of people. One story of apparent racism recently came out of a school district in New York.

A current black teacher at the Commack School District in New York is suing the district over claims that she was victimized by racism, discrimination, and harassment from students at the school and teachers. The teacher, Andrea Bryan, concluded that the district continued to allow an environment that allowed for harassment and intimidation.

Bryan, who is of Caribbean descent, has continued to claim that she has filed a wide range of grievances with the district and no action was taken. Her lawsuit, which is not for a specified amount at this point, also pointed out that there has been minimal hiring of minorities. In fact, no other black teachers have been hired in the past 17 years, which shows that there are discriminatory practices in place when it comes to hiring and promoting teachers.

Some of the allegations in the lawsuit were very hurtful and showed that Bryan was not widely accepted by her coworkers and peers. This included the treatment that she received in 2007. That year, Bryan was involved in a serious car accident and did not receive any of the compassion that she would have expected. Instead, she continued to be treated with hostility. During the annual holiday party, she was given a bottle of hand sanitizer as a gift from her Secret Santa. Even though the gift expectation was expected to be around $50, the initial thought was that the opinion that she was “dirty” led to the hurtful gift.

While the harassment from teachers was bad, she received equal treatment from students. In many cases, she was the recipient of a variety of racist comments while other students would laugh in her face at the stereotypical jokes. Bryan stated that several complaints were filed to management of the district, but no action was taken.