Deborah Morse-Cunningham, the assistant principal at New Dorp High School, is being investigated by the New York Department of Education after she posted a disturbing message on Facebook.
She is still at work despite her lengthy rant about privilege based on a number of racial stereotypes.
The now-deleted post read:
“What is privilege?
Privilege is wearing $200 sneakers when you've never had a job. Privilege is wearing $300 Beats headphones while living on public assistance.
Privilege is living in public subsidized housing where you don't have a water bill, where rising property taxes and rents and energy costs have absolutely no effect on the amount of food you can put on your table.
Privilege is having as many children as you want, regardless of your employment status, and be able to send them off to daycare or school you don't pay for.”
Staten Island Live reported that the post was seen by a parent who launched a Change.org petition to have Morse-Cunningham fired from her role as assistant principal.
The petition reads: “Deborah Morse-Cunningham, a longtime educator and assistant principal at New Dorp High School on the South Shore of Staten Island, has decided to use her platform and social media presence to post anti-Black messaging during this time. She recently posted a rant to her public Facebook page, detailing vicious stereotypes and racial profiling directed at the Black community. As someone responsible for the tutelage of our youth, this is especially troubling and problematic rhetoric to say the least.”
The petition – which has garnered over 9,900 signatures – continues: “This leads me to question what kind of practices she's instilled in the culture at New Dorp High School, and what kind of environment our children are learning in.”
The New York Post reported that Morse-Cunningham makes about $130,000 in her current position at New Dorp High School.
The school reportedly has a 49 percent minority enrollment, and nearly 60 percent of the students are economically advantaged.
On Tuesday, DOE press secretary Miranda Barbot released a statement confirming the investigation and added: “The DOE stands against racism and schools must be safe and inclusive learning environments. Teachers and staff have a responsibility to uphold those values, and the principal reported this incident for investigation.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stated on Monday that he had not yet seen the post, but that he was “very concerned.”
“No one in a position of authority should use racially insensitive language, especially someone who's an educator and kids look up to,” he said.
Sources: America Now