Parents flood Longwood school board meeting over controversial picture
Emotions ran high at a Longwood school board meeting about a controversial picture Thursday night.
Hundreds of people showed up wanting to be heard after the zoology teacher, Edward Heinrichs, used a photo in a slideshow during class last month. It showed four African American students at the Bronx Zoo, holding each other's head with the caption "Monkey do." The photo was followed by a picture of a gorilla.
The parents are filing a notice of claim that may lead to a $12 million lawsuit against the district. They are also asking the state education department to investigate the administration and for the teacher to be suspended or possibly fired.
Some people outraged over the photo calling it racist, while others say the teacher is a good person who has been showing this slideshow for years.
The school district released a statement that said it spoke with all parties involved including the teacher, parents and students.
The statement went on to say: "For the past several years, the high school teacher has taken a similar photo of students for use in a classroom PowerPoint presentation. This particular photo was an unfortunate lapse of judgement."
Blom, who had Heinrichs as a teacher before, says this picture was different from what she saw in her class.
Some say the situation is being overblown, while others are asking for more to be done.
"Teachers and other people of authority cannot continue to take actions and not be held accountable for their actions," says Elaine Gross, of the regional organization Erase Racism.
The Longwood School District says it will also continue to provide sensitivity training to students and staff.