A teacher has been fired after she was placed on leave for allegedly holding a mock slave auction with her students in the classroom of a private school in Westchester.
Rebecca Antinozzi, a fifth-grade teacher at the Chapel School in Bronxville, made national headlines earlier this month when a parent accused her of staging mock slave auctions. The parent reportedly alleges that African-American students were placed in imaginary chains and were bid on by other students.
Following the accusations, Antinozzi has repeatedly vehemently denied holding the auction in her class, and insists that she was just attempting to educate her students about the realities of the slave trade.
Following a swift and public backlash after reports of the alleged mock slave trade, Antinozzi was put on paid leave before her position was ultimately terminated at the Chapel School.
"After review and deliberation, the Board of Trustees terminated Ms. Antinozzi's employment, effective March 12,” Chapel School Principal Michael Schultz said in a statement. “This decision was made in accordance with the constitution and the bylaws of the Chapel School. A subsequent formal internal investigation has commenced to include meetings with parents, teachers and staff.
“With the support of diversity advisors and mental health professionals, a robust, long-term action plan has been simultaneously implemented to address all potential issues, and teach cultural competency and racial sensitivity.”
In an interview with News12 , Antinozzi said that the lesson lasted less than two minutes.
"I said, 'OK, how many of you are African-American?' They raised their hand," Antinozzi stated. "I said, 'OK, go line up the door for me please.' So they lined up by the door. I said, 'If you were living during this time, you would be treated unfairly and brought to the new world against your will, and forced to work. And basically what would happen is they would say, OK, let's bid $10, $20, $30, $40, $50 -- OK great, males sit down, you're working in the field; females, sit down, you're working in the domestic household.' -- And that was literally under two minutes."
The incident also led to an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office.
“The portrayal of the history lesson that has been reported is inaccurate, out of context, contains false facts and ignores the overwhelming support of Ms. Antinozzi from dozens of parents at the school, including several letters of support from African-American parents with children who have been taught by Ms. Antinozzi,” a lawyer for Antinozzi said in a statement.
“Ms. Antinozzi loves her students and is beloved by them. To the extent anyone took offense to a small portion of the overall lesson that day that was used solely to emphasize the tragic injustice of slavery, it certainly was never intended.”
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