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See how it feels to be a slave?' Teacher accused of stepping on black students in lesson

Bronx Middle School teacher Patricia Cummings is being investigated after students reported that she stepped on black students during a lesson on slavery. (Image source: misscummingspage.weebly.com screenshot

In her attempt to teach her seventh-grade social studies class how bad slavery was, a teacher in New York allegedly made black students lay on the floor while she stepped on one’s back, the New York Daily News reported.

What happened?

The teacher, Patricia Cummings, was teaching a lesson on the Middle Passage, during which Africans were kidnapped and brought to America as slaves.

According to a student in the class, Cummings allegedly singled out three black students and told them to lay on the floor at the front of the class, asking them “You see how it feels to be a slave? How does it feel?”

One of the students joked that she felt fine, so Cummings added another dimension to the lesson.

“She put her foot on her back and said ‘How does it feel? See how it feels to be a slave?’” the student claimed.

The story was corroborated by multiple students and a school staffer.

What's the backlash?

Cummings was suspended for a couple of days and returned to school Thursday. However, she was reassigned to a position away from children later that day after reporters began contacting the New York City Education Department.

“While the investigation has not been completed, these are deeply disturbing allegations, and the alleged behavior has no place in our schools or in our society,” Education Department spokeswoman Toya Holmes said.

What's the teacher's background?

Cummings has taught at New York City schools since 2016. According to the New York Daily News, she is paid $68,934 per year.

Her school, Bronx Middle School 118, is 81 percent black and Hispanic, and 3 percent white.

Both the teacher and the school principal declined to comment on the situation.

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