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In 2016, four teachers at the Elmhurst’s Pan American International High School were part of a federal lawsuit against the former principal and the NYC Department of Education. The suit’s goal was to “expose ‘system racism.’”

During the 2012-2013 school year, there were only three African American teachers at Pan American HS while more than 98% of the student body were Hispanic. Minerva Zanca, the principal at the time, was accused of discriminating not only against those teachers but the school’s assistant principal, as well.

The suit alleges that Zanca said that one of the teachers had “f***ing nappy hair” and looked like a “gorilla in a sweater.” It’s also claims that the teachers wrongfully received poor performance ratings and were baselessly accused of misrepresenting overtime hours.

Lisa-Erika James was the school’s theater teacher. THE CITY reports that Zanca “created an ‘intolerable work environment’ -- and made ‘concerted efforts’ to smear her reputation and sabotage her theater program.”

Representing the teachers and assistant principal is Preet Bharara, while the City’s law department will be appear on behalf of the DOE and former principal Zanca.

A spokesperson said that the City of New York will “defend this principal who did not discriminate.”

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If you have been a victim of racial discrimination in the workplace, please call one of our Civil Rights attorneys at 212-619-5400.

To read the full story in THE CITY, click here: https://thecity.nyc/2020/02/last-teacher-standing-goes-it-alone-in-federal-racism-suit.html