Notice of claim filed against Longwood School District over alleged racist zoo photo
A federal notice of claim has been filed against the Longwood School District and teachers by the parents of four African American high school students who say their children were humiliated in a picture taken by a zoology teacher.
The teacher apparently posed the students with their hands on each other's heads during a field trip to the Bronx Zoo in November.
During a slideshow prepared by the teacher, who the students say is Edward Heinrichs, the picture was shown with the caption, "Monkey Do."
After the picture of the students, a picture of a gorilla followed - and the parents of the teenagers say that the photo is disturbing and racist.
Jakheem Moye, who was one of the students in the photo, calls it degrading and says it was shocking when the teacher compared him to a monkey.
The lawsuit will ask for $12 million in damages and the parents say they are asking the New York State Department of Education to investigate the school and suspend or fire the teachers involved.
The school responded to the notice of claim in a statement, which said in part that the picture was an unfortunate lapse of judgement and that the school would not comment further on pending litigation.
The parents also claim there was another offensive picture in a slideshow done by the same teacher from a previous year showing three African American female students and a lion with the caption, "All Animals Don't Stink."