Posted on December 31, 2018

Black Teacher Claims LI School District Ignored Rampant Racism

Kathianne Boniello, New York Post, December 29, 2018


English teacher Andrea Bryan alleges that the Commack school district, where she’s been the only black instructor for 17 years, has long ignored her complaints and pleas for help.

When she asked if food in a staff lounge was for everyone, a popular coworker responded, “for whites only,” Bryan claims in a suit in Manhattan Federal Court.

The same teacher asked her, “Andrea, can you translate slave talk for me?” referring to a black character in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” Bryan charges.


Another coworker ignored Bryan when she tried to ask a question during a professional training session, she says, and her only present during a $50 Secret Santa gift exchange was a container of hand sanitizer, “presented … because she is black, and therefore, dirty in the view of her colleagues,” Bryan alleges.

She was denied a regular classroom and her colleagues ignored her in 2017 after she was involved in a serious car accident, even though, Bryan said, she was a regular contributor to the staff Sunshine Fund, which pays for flowers, sympathy cards and gifts for staffers going through traumatic events.


This led to other kids shouting “There goes Aunt Jemima!” and “Do you have any maple syrup?” in the cafeteria, according to the lawsuit.

The district ignored her pleas to remove the student from her class, Bryan said in court papers, which accuse Commack of fostering “an atmosphere of racial harassment and intimidation.”