IS 224 parents rally against principal accused of racism

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THE BRONX -

Parents of children at I.S. 224 rallied Monday after a teacher there accused the principal of racism.

They want Principal Patricia Catania removed from her role. Sources say she has no prior disciplinary history.

The Daily News previously reported that students and staffers accused Catania of halting an English teacher from conducting lessons on black history.

Mercedes Liriano-Clark, the English teacher, attended the rally. She accuses Catania of preventing her from teaching a lesson on the Harlem Renaissance and also targeting black teachers.

"We're learning about slavery and Harriet Tubman, but she says that I'm an ELA teacher and therefore should not be teaching that," she says. "But it's part of the New York state curriculum."

Sources have confirmed that there is an active investigation into the allegations.

The Department of Education says black history is an important part of the curriculum.

"Students are currently working on projects related to Black History Month that will be presented and highlighted at the end of February," a DOE spokesperson said. "All schools must provide a supportive and inclusive learning environment, and there's no place for discrimination or bias of any kind in our schools."

Earlier this month, a teacher at M.S. 118 named Patricia Cummings was reassigned following accusations that she told black students to lay on the floor and stepped on their backs to illustrate a lesson on slavery.

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