Black Teacher At Elementary School Files Lawsuit - Says Facing 'Abusive and Hostile' Racism Daily Left Internal Damage

Black Teacher At Elementary School Files Lawsuit - Says Facing 'Abusive and Hostile' Racism Daily Left Internal Damage

Tammy Jordan was the first black teacher that the school had hired in more than 25 years, she claims in her lawsuit

In a lawsuit filed last week, a black teacher is suing a southern New Jersey school - saying that she was discriminated against on a daily basis. Furthermore, she was one of the few black teachers in the school, and faced retaliation when she complained about racist treatment. 


According to NBC News, Tammy Jordan claimed she was the first full-time black teacher that Larchmont Elementary School in Mount Laurel hired since 1990. The claims in the suit filed on May 29 are also backed by the school district and the board of education, and four former colleagues. 


The former second-grade teacher is further claiming that her white colleagues routinely questioned her intelligence and would deny her access to laptops, televisions and other classroom equipment needed to conduct her lessons. 

They also spoke to her like she was less intelligent than them, the suit claims, saying things like: “I would show you my lesson plans, but you won’t understand them anyway" and "can you even understand me?”


She alleges in the suit that the white teachers accused her of getting her job as a result of affirmative action. When Jordan sat down at a table with the other teachers in her grade, they would get up, the suit says.

The suit says one white colleague asked Jordan once: “Do your grandchildren have the same mother?” 


The other second grade teachers, who are named as defendants — Kim Billings and Maira Medina, and substitute teacher Victoria Ascuitto — would exclude Jordan and refuse to talk to her or acknowledge her "even when Ms. Jordan attempted to speak with them," the suit alleges.

In addition, when Jordan approached school principal George Jackson regarding the matter, she alleges that he replied that her white colleagues didn’t mean to be racist against her and advised her to learn how to cope with it. 


The problems ran deeper for Jordan - as she also alleges that two white colleagues told her that they did not have the time to develop a curriculum for black history, even though one of them had spent an entire week teaching students about Dr. Seuss. 


"Defendants have avoided hiring black, African American teachers due to the discrimination and harassment to which black, African American teachers are subjected to at Larchmont Elementary School," the suit filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey says. "Accordingly, there are almost no black, African American teachers at Larchmont Elementary School." 


According to the New Jersey Department of Education, Among the school's 39 teachers, 87 percent were white and 10 percent — about three teachers — were black. And of approximately 400 students enrolled at Larchmont in 2017-18, about 22 percent were black and 41 percent white. 


Jordan claims she was subjected daily to racist comments and exclusion by the white teachers in her grade, facing "a daily fight for the opportunity to perform the duties of her employment like” her "similarly situated white" co-workers.

Jordan claims she sustained permanent psychological injuries and suffered from loss of income and benefits. The suit says she was made to feel "extremely humiliated, degraded, victimized, embarrassed and emotionally distressed."

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