Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Report: Discrimination suit claims principal overlooked racial issues at Tompkins Square Middle School

A Tompkins Square Middle School teacher says in a Manhattan Federal Court discrimination suit that Principal Sonhando Estwick "put his career at risk by failing to address racial issues at his school," the Daily News reports.

Per the News:

The 34-year-old teacher, who is black and has 10 years of experience, seeks $5 million from the city.

Doe says his relationship with Estwick soured in 2012 when he asked during a meeting whether the school would be celebrating Black History Month.

Estwick, who is also black, replied the school doesn’t celebrate the month because it celebrates diversity year-round, according to court papers.

The teacher alleges that the principal said that "his radical views are not welcome at the school," and that he was "an affirmative action hire."

And then...

In October 2016, a parent complained to Estwick that a teacher cracked a joke about a Muslim student who dresses conservatively, the suit says.

The teacher, who is white, joked about the classroom needing a Muslim ban — but replaced the word “Muslim” with the student’s name, the suit says.

Despite some complaints, that teacher was never reprimanded.

According to the News, the suit was filed as a John Doe case "to protect a vulnerable student." The John Doe is still employed at the school, on Sixth Street at Avenue B.


Anonymous said...

So I dont get how this is controversial. Being sensitive to diversity is the correct response. Suing for $5 milk? That's ridiculous.

marjorie said...

i find this very hard to square with the TSMS i know and the devoted teachers and administrators who work there.

Anonymous said...

5 million seems steep but the first rule for sticking up the city is ask for a lot and then settle. The Muslim ban joke is creepy but if there isn't a pattern with that teacher it's just a one off middle school lapse of taste.

Curious if the school still uses the really expensive roof garden they privately financed for the most part.

Anonymous said...

School parent here. FWIW, from what my family has seen, Sonhando is awesome with the kids and notoriously snarky (in a good way) with the adults. Dunno if that's the issue here. I have not talked politics with him, but I'm fairly certain he's not anti-black or anti-Muslim or tolerant of either in his school. Maybe there's details we don't yet know, but it sounds like a bunch of bullshit to me. He seems like a really good guy who loves that school and those kids and works hard for them.

And yes, we still use the roof garden!

Anonymous said...

From what I observed Sonhando goes out of his way to make a diverse student community. Lawsuit seems completely bogus, and I'm black.