- A white New York middle school principal who was accused of racist conduct has been demoted and will be starting a new position as an assistant principal at a nearby high school.
- Patricia Catania allegedly told an English teacher in February 2018 that she couldn’t teach black history lessons, confiscated a student-made poster of the African American entertainer Lena Horne, and targeted black students and teachers for abuse.
- The New York City Department of Education is currently investigating the allegations of racism.
- A NYCDE source told INSIDER that Catania chose to leave her position, even though it means a more than $30,000 salary deduction.
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A white New York middle school principal who was accused of racist conduct after allegedly barring lessons on black history will continue to work in the school district despite an ongoing New York City Department of Education investigation.
Patricia Catania, who has worked for the city’s school system for more than 25 years, will be starting a new position in the fall as assistant principal at a nearby high school, Department of Education spokesperson Danielle Filson first told the New York Daily News. She confirmed the news with INSIDER.
Catania garnered controversy in February 2018 for allegedly telling an English teacher at Intermediate School 224 in the Bronx that she couldn’t teach black history lessons, confiscating a student-made poster of the African American entertainer Lena Horne, and targeting black students and teachers for abuse, according to the Daily News. They reported that both students and teachers at Catania’s school believed she had created a hostile environment for black students and teachers since starting the job in December 2016.
Those racist allegations come at a middle school where 97 percent of students are black or Hispanic, according to New York City Department of Education statistics. Deborah Sanabria will serve as acting principal of the school, following Catania’s departure. Department sources said the process to select a new principal will begin in the fall.
Despite those allegations, Catania will remain an employee in the district. Health Opportunities High School, where Catania will begin as assistant principal, told INSIDER they have no comment at this time. The middle school hung up when reached for comment.
The Department source told INSIDER that Catania chose to leave her position as principal to pursue a new opportunity at the high school, even though it means a more than $30,000 salary deduction. While her current salary is $164,702, she will be making $132,337 in her new role.
“She’s racist,” Mercedes Liriano, an English teacher who’s worked at the middle school, told the Daily News in February 2018. “She’s trying to stop us from teaching our students about our own culture.”
“We thank Principal Catania for her service at IS 224, and the Superintendent and Principal Sanabria will ensure a smooth transition through the end of the year,” DoE spokesperson Filson told INSIDER. “We’ll work closely with the community as we identify a new leader to meet the needs of the school.”
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