JerseyCAN: It’s Time For the Education Department to Honestly Address Our Failure To Teach Children to ReadAugust 23, 2023
LILLEY: This Group Is Intimidating Parents Who Push Back On Gender Identity GuidelinesAugust 24, 2023
Tammy Davis and Nubia Lumumba, English teachers at Newark’s School of Global Studies. resigned at the end of last school year due to “harassment and racial hostility by students and supervisors.” Both Davis and Lumumba are Black. They have filed a tort claim, which typically is followed by a lawsuit.
What does this news tell us?
That Global Studies’ racism problem isn’t confined to Black students, who have been informing Newark Superintendent Roger Leon and the school board for a year that they are subject to anti-Black harassment by Latino students, with little support from principal Nelson Ruiz. We know this because this past February NJ Ed Report filed an Open Public Records request, which confirmed that parents had been sending emails to Leon, Assistant Superintendent Maria Ortiz, and Global Studies Vice Principal Hoda Abdelwahab.
While many Black parents have disenrolled their children from Global Studies, including board president Dawn Hayes, this is the first legal challenge to the district on this issue. The two teachers have also filed a claim with the New Jersey Office of Civil Rights. Chalkbeat reports that as a result of the “unlawful and unreasonable treatment” at Global Studies, both educators felt their “worth as a teacher and human being has been diminished.”
In response to public outcry, Leon commissioned a report from CREED Strategies, which is run by Lauren Wells, former Chief Education Advisor to Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. Last month NJ Ed Report filed an OPRA request for the final report to the Newark City Council and the district but we have yet to receive a response. (Neither has Chalkbeat, the teachers, or their lawyer. At a press conference in June, Leon said the report would not be available to the public, although the school board has seen it.)
Last month Newark Schools announced it had completed its own investigation of claims of anti-black racism at Global Studies but did not find “sufficient evidence to support a finding of harassment, discrimination, hostile work environment, or retaliatory conduct in violation of district, state, or federal laws.”
Maybe they should ask student Samiyah Dunham, who asked Board members, ”How would you feel every morning if you wake up and remember that you’re going to a place that doesn’t want you there?”
Here’s NJER TV’s video: