Parents: Longwood teacher’s photo caption compared black students to monkeys
Some parents are upset about a caption written by a teacher on a picture of Longwood high school students at the Bronx Zoo.
The students were on a field trip for their zoology class when the photo was taken. Parents say the caption the teacher used on the photo, which reads, "Monkey Do," is insensitive to the black students pictured.
They also say the teacher used the photo in the classroom for a slideshow in which the following slide showed a gorilla.
“The whole picture and the caption was very upsetting because it was comparing our kids to a monkey or a gorilla, which, there is a history on this when it comes to black people - it was very disturbing,” says Latisha Moye, mother of one of the students in the photo.
Longwood School District officials say the superintendent met with the concerned parents and assured them that the teacher who wrote the caption has been spoken to.
The school issued a statement Monday afternoon, saying, "The Longwood Central School District has been made aware of a culturally insensitive photo involving Longwood students during a class trip to the Bronx Zoo. For the past several years, the high school teacher has taken a similar photo for use in a classroom PowerPoint presentation. This particular photo was an unfortunate lapse of judgment. Without the intent of doing so, the photo was taken without fully understanding the sensitivity or the hurt it may have caused and reminds us that we must be more aware of the feelings of our multi-cultural population.
Since returning from winter break, the Superintendent and High School Administration have met with the teacher, members of the community, and the families involved. We are proud of the diversity at Longwood Schools, and we will continue to provide sensitivity training to our students and staff to raise awareness of our cultural differences. Longwood is committed to providing an educational environment that is nurturing, supportive, safe, and conducive to learning.”
Parents involved say the school still isn’t doing enough. They say they are calling for a public apology and for the teacher to be suspended without pay.
“When kids make mistakes, they have to deal with the consequences,” says Moye. “He's an adult, especially being 22 years a teacher, he should know what and what not to do, especially putting animals to a face.”