Community members protest after accusations of racist comments by principal

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MOTT HAVEN -

A Mott Haven school principal is continuing to face backlash after being accused of racist policies that have since prompted an investigation.

Dozens gathered in front of I.S. 224 to rally against Principal Patricia Catania, saying that they won't rest until she leaves the school.

Among those in attendance was English teacher Mercedes Liriano-Clark, who says she received a shocking response from Catania after asking students to do a Black History Month project.

Liriano-Clark says the principal told her, "You no longer teach social studies, therefore you shouldn't be teaching it and you shouldn't be doing the project."

Liriano-Clark says comments only worsened after the first reaction, sparking outrage from the community and the National Action Network.

The protest also drew some people who supported the actions of Catania.

News 12 reached out to the Department of Education, which said African-American history is integrated into the curriculum.

"We are treating this with the utmost seriousness, and the superintendent and his staff are working closely with the community to address their concerns," the DOE said. "A thorough investigation is underway and we will ensure any necessary follow-up action is swiftly taken."

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