The Mount Vernon School District is hitting the brakes after coming under fire for hiring a teacher who was fired earlier this year for holding a mock slave auction with students.
The district is reversing course after hiring Rebecca Antinozzi, a former fifth-grade teacher at the Chapel School in Bronxville who was fired after a parent accused her of staging mock slave auctions.
The parent alleged that African-American students were placed in imaginary chains and were bid on by other students.
Antinozzi was reportedly hired last week to teach at the Cecil H. Parker Elementary School with a salary of more than $77,000. Parents and local officials were quick to fault the hiring, prompting an outcry from the community.
Late on Tuesday, Sept. 24, Mount Vernon Schools Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton assured the community that Antinozzi would not be joining the district.
“The district can now report that Ms. Antonizzi will not be returning to the classroom to teach for the district,” he said in a statement. “Please know that the district has an obligation to ensure that the confidentiality rights of all of our staff members are honored at all times. This sometimes limits the amount of information that can be shared.
Hamilton noted that they have a contingency plan in place as they seek to fill what would have been Antonizzi’s, permanently.
“The district will ensure that every child continues to receive a high-quality educational experience,” he said. "To that end the District has a long-term substitute in place while we recruit candidates for the permanent position. The education of our children is of paramount concern and we are working to maintain the continuity of instruction of our students.”
Mount Vernon Mayor Andre Wallace also chimed in on Tuesday, saying that a mock slave auction “has no place in our schools.”
"I support the investigation on the hiring process and background of a new elementary school classroom teacher, Rebecca Antinozzi," Wallace said. "A Mock Slave Auction in a classroom with African- American students posing as slaves is racist and has no place in our schools and no place anywhere."
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