Student says Black History Month reading landed her in principal’s office
A Suffolk student says reading about Black History Month landed her in the principal's office at Saxton Middle School in Patchogue.
Nayyira Hanley tells News 12 that she wanted to share her culture with her classmates because what students learn about black history in class is limited.
"We only learn about slavery, Harriett Tubman, Martin Luther King, that's it,” she says.
The eighth-grader decided to write notes about Lewis Latimer, an engineer who helped patent the light bulb and telephone, and Emmit Till, a Mississippi boy who was brutally killed in 1955 after allegedly whistling at a white woman.
Hanley says she got permission from a teacher to read her Black History Month facts during eighth-grade lunch, but another sent her to the principal’s office.
"Why can't I let them know about my culture? And he was like, ‘You just can't read it,’ and he starts to snatch the paper from me,” she says.
News 12 reached out to the school district on the issue, but officials wouldn't talk about specific students or staff. Superintendent Dr. Michael Hynes said, "In the Patchogue-Medford School District, we believe Black History Month is an important part of our nation's tradition in which we must collectively promote examples of poignant historical events, leaders and steps toward societal change."
He says the school has taken steps to allow students to express themselves.
Hanley says since the incident, her principal has allowed her to read about black history during morning announcements.