NEW YORK – A high school teacher is suing a New York school district, alleging that she has faced multiple instances of racism during her 17 years as the only black teacher working for the district.
Andrea Bryan, an English teacher, filed the lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York on Dec. 19 against Long Island's Commack School District, NBC News reported Sunday, claiming she was discriminated against by both students and faculty.
In one case, a white teacher allegedly told Bryan that food inside the English office was meant "for whites only," the lawsuit says. In another case, the same teacher, dealing with the play "The Crucible," allegedly asked her to, "translate slave talk for me," a comment that Bryan says "humiliated, degraded and embarrassed" her, NBC news reported.
Bryan reportedly filed an official complaint following that comment in 2015, resulting in the teacher being demoted.
She also says in the lawsuit that the school kept he from having a dedicated classroom, something she says is a "privilege that had been afforded to many white junior teachers."
Bryan also allegedly faced "racial jeers, insults and taunts" from students, including when one called her "Aunt Jemima" in 2016, she says in the lawsuit.
A spokeswoman for the school district told NBC News that the district can't publicly comment on Bryan's claims but said each of them had been investigated, and to the extent appropriate, promptly addressed."
"The District takes any allegation of discrimination seriously and, as a matter of policy and practice, acts swiftly in response to any claim," the spokeswoman added.