A teacher in New York was fired for revealing how race plays a major role in the justice system. According to a recent lawsuit filed in Manhattan Federal Court, Jeena Lee-Walker was dismissed from her teaching duties at High School for Arts after teaching a lesson about the Central Park Five.
The Central Park Five was a case where five Black and Latino teens were falsely accused and convicted of raping a White woman in New York’s Central Park during the 1980s. They served over a decade in jail before being exonerated.
Lee-Walker wanted to shed light on the subject by showing a documentary on the case which allowed her to connect more with her Black students. However, school administrators were upset with Lee-Walker for her choice. They argued that Black students would be riled up by the film and possibly start a riot.
Lee-Walker soon began receiving a series of poor evaluations and accused of insubordination. She was eventually fired from her job in May. She believes that her firing violated her First Amendment right to discuss the Central Park Five.
Lee-Walker’s case reveals how certain school districts across the nation fail to give students a substantive look at Black history and culture. Racism and its brutal history are subjects that should be required learning for every student in America. It can help a country that continues to struggle with race relations.
Lee-Walker has since filed a suit against the Department of Education and school administrators.