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Tags lawsuits , New York incidents , racism charges , racism incidents , school incidents

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Old 10th January 2020, 08:43 AM   #41
theprestige
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Not just a PowerPoint. The complaint claims that two teachers put substantial effort into cajoling and tricking the students into the photo op.

There's like a week's worth of too much "this will be funny, let's try really hard to make it happen," and not enough "maybe comparing our students to monkeys is a bad idea."

I feel like the money isn't about this specific incident, but about the school having its collective head so far up its collective ass that incidents like this can even happen.

I bet there's a pervasive culture at the school where crap like this happens a lot, but mostly below the threshold of actually being able to build a case on.

I bet that it's exactly the school's tolerance of "harmless" racism that gave these teachers the mistaken idea that this would fly.
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Old 10th January 2020, 08:44 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by New York Post
...The district said that since returning from winter break, the Superintendent and the High School Administration has met with the teacher, community members and the families involved.

“We are proud of the diversity at Longwood Schools, and we will continue to provide sensitivity training to our students and staff to raise awareness of our cultural differences,” the district said. “Longwood is committed to providing an educational environment that is nurturing, supportive, safe, and conducive to learning.”

The school district would not say what, if any, disciplinary measures were taken against the teachers involved, and said that “due to pending litigation” it has no further comment on the matter.

But the students’ attorney claimed that the teachers involved are still teaching.
https://nypost.com/2020/01/08/long-i...eld-trip-photo

That article is two days old. Not sure if the teacher is still teaching, or what.
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Old 10th January 2020, 09:05 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I know a children's hospital that pulls the same guilt trip. Every time someone threatens to sue after their kid dies from negligence the hospital bats its eyelashes, summons tears, and says in a quivering voice "but but but we need that money to save the other children!"
There are compensatory damages, and obviously people are entitled to those.

Punitive damages are a particularly US phenomenon. Punishment is really a matter for a criminal court not a civil court. By definition punitive damages are meant to punish the transgressor not award the claimant. The reason why rewards are so high in many US civil cases are punitive damages that are often out of proportion to the actual damage done. Arguably the benefit of punitive damages would be as great if the money was used to some social benefit, e.g. damages in this case given to a charity that promotes / subsidises anti-racist educational materials. That at least would mean that money people had paid and voted to be spent on children's education was at least being used to some educational benefit.

ETA
The school board budget is about $250,000,000, so the costs if awarded in full is about 5% of the total budget, not an unsubstantial amount when we hear schools and teachers in the public sector are struggling. The children most likely to be affected are the poorest and most deprived by any cuts. Roughly $4 million will go to lawyers, that leaves $2 million per child . More than the US pays out for wrongful killing. I do not believe that however hurtful this was it will have done $millions in harm. Also I am not sure that having a prolonged court case won't actually increase any harm, it does not seem likely to be a healing process.

I accept that this is a negotiating position and the likely outcome will be an out of court settlement for considerably less.

Last edited by Planigale; 10th January 2020 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 10th January 2020, 09:12 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Newsday
“It scars them forever,” said Beverly Dean, one of dozens of speakers who addressed the school board before a crowd of about 300 people at Longwood High School’s auditorium. “What are we going to do for that student when they are 30 years old and have a flashback?”
If it is money that makes people whole again, then just give these guys a million dollars every time they have a flashback. If that is not a good idea then make the lawsuit much bigger... say, in the hundreds of millions.
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Old 10th January 2020, 09:44 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
That's the other thing. This wasn't a verbal slip up that, mountains of context aside, might, might have been a nothingburger in some cases, again mountain of context not withstanding.

It was a goddamn Powerpoint Presentation. You can't just Freudian slip in desktop publishing.
To further that, I don't even see why those slides could have reasonably been used in the first place. It looks like it was supposed to be a lecture about zoology, so why include posed pictures of students with a caption that could easily be seen as offensive? I've seen plenty of jokes in presentations, that's one thing - hell, I've even been in multiple primatology lectures that have included joke slides featuring humans and apes showing the same behavior saying things like "monkey see, monkey do" and "not so different." That would have been fine, and there's clearly a point to that. That caption over a slide showing students interacting with the gorillas in some way might even have been understandable (in the Fruedian slip way you're talking about). This doesn't appear to be anything like that, it's just black students thrown in with slides about primates, and with a caption indicating some relation. I have no idea why the teacher thought going through the effort of having the kids pose, making the slide, and including it in a lecture was a good idea.

At best, those teachers were just so stupid and unaware it's kind of baffling. I have no idea if they're racists or not, and it doesn't really matter. They did a dumb, unnecessary thing that played directly into well-known racist tropes and caused offense as a result. Calling that out is fully warranted, and I don't see why a teacher who cares about his students wouldn't realize he made a mistake, acknowledge that, and try to do better at the very least.

Last edited by ArchSas; 10th January 2020 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 10th January 2020, 09:58 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by ArchSas View Post
To further that, I don't even see why those slides could have reasonably been used in the first place. It looks like it was supposed to be a lecture about zoology, so why include posed pictures of students with a caption that could easily be seen as offensive? I've seen plenty of jokes in presentations, that's one thing - hell, I've even been in multiple primatology lectures that have included joke slides featuring humans and apes showing the same behavior saying things like "monkey see, monkey do" and "not so different." That would have been fine, and there's clearly a point to that. That caption over a slide showing students interacting with the gorillas in some way might even have been understandable (in the Fruedian slip way you're talking about). This doesn't appear to be anything like that, it's just black students thrown in with slides about primates, and with a caption indicating some relation. I have no idea why the teacher thought going through the effort of having the kids pose, making the slide, and including it in a lecture was a good idea.

At best, those teachers were just so stupid and unaware it's kind of baffling.
It looks like the pre-Christmas slideshow is a tradition at this school and poking fun at students is part of that slideshow tradition...

Originally Posted by Newsday
But Scott Twining, who said his five children were taught by the teacher under fire, said the slideshow had been a feature of the class for many years and students of all colors were included as a joke, not as a slur meant to harm. “They’re not racist,” he said of the slideshows, adding that he has black relatives and would not hesitate to allow them to be taught by Heinrichs. “They’re meant for fun.”
They poke fun at students of all races. They don't care about race. So they were doing the same thing they always do but this time they made a big error without realizing it.
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Old 10th January 2020, 10:04 AM   #47
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"It's not racist because we're making fun of everyone" isn't a thing.

Neither is "I can't be racist because 'I don't see race.'"
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Old 10th January 2020, 10:19 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
"It's not racist because we're making fun of everyone" isn't a thing.

Neither is "I can't be racist because 'I don't see race.'"
Nor are "it's not racism because it's a joke," or "I know black people and I'm not offended, so it's not racist."

Last edited by ArchSas; 10th January 2020 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 10th January 2020, 10:23 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by ArchSas View Post
Nor are "it's not racism because it's a joke," or "I know black people and I'm not offended, so it's not racist."
I think you mean "I know black people and they're not offended, so it's not racist."

However, I do think it requires an element of intent to be racist, and this case qualifies imo.
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Old 10th January 2020, 10:30 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I think you mean "I know black people and they're not offended, so it's not racist."
No, I meant what I wrote, because that's exactly the defense used in that quote in post 46. That guy didn't say anything about knowing black people that weren't offended, just that he has black relatives (as kind of a weird non sequitur that reminds me a lot of "I can't be racist because I have a black friend") and doesn't think the captions were racist. Your version is more common, and equally invalid as a defense, but I didn't want to put words in that guy's mouth.

But yeah, I think the main point here is the effort and intent, which is pretty damning.

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Old 10th January 2020, 12:27 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
It looks like the pre-Christmas slideshow is a tradition at this school and poking fun at students is part of that slideshow tradition...



They poke fun at students of all races. They don't care about race. So they were doing the same thing they always do but this time they made a big error without realizing it.
I can actually believe this. They may have done a similar pose and caption with many students over the years of varying race, gender and sexuality. It just happened that they did it this year with four black males. Teachers should be more sensitive to these issues and this should not have happened but I can see if they have done something similar in previous years with no complaint how they ended up doing something stupid.
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Old 10th January 2020, 12:32 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by ArchSas View Post
No, I meant what I wrote, because that's exactly the defense used in that quote in post 46.
Well alright, but my version is something I actually hear.
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Old 10th January 2020, 12:41 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Nonsense about the highlighted. The students didn't suffer $12M worth of harm.

The teacher should be sacked and the school offer an apology.
You see, your attitude, well meaning as it might be, is the type that allows this kind of crap to continue to happen. What you are suggesting here is targeting of the person who actually did this, and giving the school district a slap on the hand with a wet tram ticket, and on so doing, failing to address culture in the school district that allowed this to happen. People don't usually commit this kind of racist action out of the blue or in a vacuum. There are certain to have been earlier indications that this teacher was a racist, and they should have been weeded beforehand.

As judge, and assuming that what has been alleged here is the truth, my judgement would be for the whole $12m as asked, awarding the four students $20K each, and the balance of the judgement to go to a charity involved in education against racism such as the Southern Poverty Law Centre. Hit racist organisations where it hurts the most, the bottom line, and send out a warning to other such organisations that this kind of thing will not be tolerated.
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Old 10th January 2020, 12:56 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Two teachers.

The school and the district do the hiring, training, and supervision of teachers. They set the norms and expectations for their staff.

The taxpayers, of course, have a vested interest in how their money is being spent. They have the standing to oversee the schools they're paying for, and the responsibility to do so.

These kinds of things don't happen in a vacuum. These teachers were somehow under the impression that comparing their black students to monkeys was okay. I think the entire "chain of command" is implicated in the evolution of these norms. Everyone - teachers, administrators, taxpayers - need to feel the bite of that responsibility. And the shame and chagrin of allowing these norms to blossom in their schools.
Agreed.
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Old 10th January 2020, 01:08 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
It looks like the pre-Christmas slideshow is a tradition at this school and poking fun at students is part of that slideshow tradition...



They poke fun at students of all races. They don't care about race. So they were doing the same thing they always do but this time they made a big error without realizing it.
Utter nonsense. The teachers have (presumably) been educated and don’t live in caves. They must have realised the offensive nature of the slides, but went ahead anyway. So they were stupid secondly, and racist firstly.
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Old 10th January 2020, 01:39 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
As judge, and assuming that what has been alleged here is the truth, my judgement would be for the whole $12m as asked, awarding the four students $20K each, and the balance of the judgement to go to a charity involved in education against racism such as the Southern Poverty Law Centre. Hit racist organisations where it hurts the most, the bottom line, and send out a warning to other such organisations that this kind of thing will not be tolerated.
Those boys and their parents might strongly disagree with your distribution of payout. They may feel that they need to become sudden millionaires in order to repair their personal harm.

$20K to the charity and the rest to the boys. Otherwise, your suggestion could look like someone snatching away a winning lottery ticket.
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Old 10th January 2020, 01:46 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
You see, your attitude, well meaning as it might be, is the type that allows this kind of crap to continue to happen. What you are suggesting here is targeting of the person who actually did this, and giving the school district a slap on the hand with a wet tram ticket, and on so doing, failing to address culture in the school district that allowed this to happen. People don't usually commit this kind of racist action out of the blue or in a vacuum. There are certain to have been earlier indications that this teacher was a racist, and they should have been weeded beforehand.

As judge, and assuming that what has been alleged here is the truth, my judgement would be for the whole $12m as asked, awarding the four students $20K each, and the balance of the judgement to go to a charity involved in education against racism such as the Southern Poverty Law Centre. Hit racist organisations where it hurts the most, the bottom line, and send out a warning to other such organisations that this kind of thing will not be tolerated.
Seconded!
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Old 10th January 2020, 01:55 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Those boys and their parents might strongly disagree with your distribution of payout. They may feel that they need to become sudden millionaires in order to repair their personal harm.

$20K to the charity and the rest to the boys. Otherwise, your suggestion could look like someone snatching away a winning lottery ticket.
I'm going to be generous here and assume that you forgot to include the "sarcasm" smiley!
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Old 10th January 2020, 02:04 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
I'm going to be generous here and assume that you forgot to include the "sarcasm" smiley!
There is no sarcasm.

I imagine these boys laying in bed each night waiting to fall asleep. I imagine them thinking about becoming sudden millionaires and what they will spend it on. But then I think maybe they don't think about that at all and instead all they can think of is the horror of Monkey Do. Even a brand new Lamborghini cannot erase the horror of Monkey Do.
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Old 10th January 2020, 02:07 PM   #60
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"Black people should be happy people are racist to them because they can make big money off of race based lawsuits."

That's a new one.
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Old 10th January 2020, 02:09 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
That's a new one.
A new strawman from Joe's Strawman Factory.
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Old 10th January 2020, 02:27 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
They need that money for payouts in sex abuses cases!
It was a Catholic School?
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Old 10th January 2020, 02:31 PM   #63
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I’ve seen this idea of “No problem about the racism, they are going to get money later. They come out as big winners!” in this Forum before.

Well, I don’t go through my day hoping someone will subject me to a deeply humiliating public racist experience in front of my friends, peers, teachers, and community so that I may be able to obtain some money in a lawsuit later.

As Mark Twain is claimed to have written of having been tarred and feathered and ridden of of town on a rail, “If not for the honor of the thing I’d rather not have done it.”

Personally I doubt the money would overcome the disgust and awfulness of the experience itself.

Am I unusual in this?
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Old 10th January 2020, 02:36 PM   #64
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Again if I may.... *dramatic pause* add on to my strawman the kids are almost certainly not going to see 12 million dollars.

The whole "Oh they are only after the money" angle is just another layer of racism, basically telling black people "Jeez you guys can't even be victims right."
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Old 10th January 2020, 02:39 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
I’ve seen this idea of “No problem about the racism, they are going to get money later. They come out as big winners!” in this Forum before.

Well, I don’t go through my day hoping someone will subject me to a deeply humiliating public racist experience in front of my friends, peers, teachers, and community so that I may be able to obtain some money in a lawsuit later.

As Mark Twain is claimed to have written of having been tarred and feathered and ridden of of town on a rail, “If not for the honor of the thing I’d rather not have done it.”

Personally I doubt the money would overcome the disgust and awfulness of the experience itself.

Am I unusual in this?
Certainly not unique. I share your position.

The case will almost certainly be settled for less than $12m, but I hope with a significant and life changing amount for these humiliated children.
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Old 10th January 2020, 02:39 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
It looks like the pre-Christmas slideshow is a tradition at this school and poking fun at students is part of that slideshow tradition...



They poke fun at students of all races. They don't care about race. So they were doing the same thing they always do but this time they made a big error without realizing it.
I strongly doubt that they didn’t realize it. But if they didn’t then they were so stupid and so ignorant of such a well known racist meme that they have no right to teach and mentor students. People involved in teaching are responsible for understanding and countering racism, sexism, etc. to be able to appropriately help their students.
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Old 10th January 2020, 03:13 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by ABC 7 News
...Parent Desmond Dent Sr. said he met with administrators and they showed him slideshows the teacher has done in the past of the class trip to the Bronx Zoo, which included white students doing the same pose with the same "monkey do" caption. Dent Sr. said administrators presented it to him to try to point out that the teacher didn't single out the African-American students.

"It's just tasteless," he said. "And if the kids can pick up on it, how does an adult not?"

Dent Sr. and Gykye's grandfather Butch Murray said administrators also showed them slideshow pictures from a previous year, which featured a picture of a lion, then three African-American girls with the caption, "Not all animals are cute."...
https://abc7ny.com/5827320/
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Old 10th January 2020, 03:17 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by ABC 7 News
There was a big show of support for a teacher accused showing a culturally insensitive photo during class at a Long Island high school....

...The school board held a meeting Thursday night where more than 100 students and parents showed up to support the teacher. In fact, so many people showed up that the meeting had to be moved from a classroom to the auditorium. The district said it was "an unfortunate lapse of judgment," but many students are taking the teacher's side...

...Supporters say this teacher has taken a similar photo at the zoo with the same pose and caption for years. "The students shown in the slide in the presentation has varied over the years and have never been used to represent a single racial or ethnic group," said student Kieran Monaghan
https://abc7ny.com/5832197/
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Old 10th January 2020, 03:30 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by Newsday
...In a statement Monday, the district conceded the photo and caption were "culturally insensitive" but said the teacher did not intend to mock the students. The teacher has made slideshows from past zoo trips with similar "Monkey See, Monkey Do" captions featuring white students, parents said.

"For the past several years, the high school teacher has taken a similar photo for use in a classroom PowerPoint presentation," said the statement, indicating that Heinrichs has undergone sensitivity training. "This particular photo was an unfortunate lapse of judgment. Without the intent of doing so, the photo was taken without fully understanding the sensitivity or the hurt it may have caused and reminds us that we must be more aware of the feelings of our multicultural population."...

The slideshow includes a picture of a monkey with the caption "Monkey See." In the next picture, the students can be seen standing behind each other in size order with their hands on each other's heads with the caption "Monkey Do." The next picture is of a gorilla.

Ray contends the photo of the students was intended to look like "The March of Progress," a commonly used illustration intended to show 25 million years of human evolution, with man evolving over time from apes to Homo sapiens...

Parents contend a prior slideshow by the same teacher was also offensive. In a meeting last week to discuss the incident, school administrators showed parents previous years' slideshows, according to Butch Murray, whose grandson, Gykye, 16, was in the photo. A 2017 presentation, Murray said, featured a picture of a lion followed by a photo of three African American female students with the caption: "not all animals are cute."

"This made the hair on the back of my neck stand up," Murray said of the slideshow featuring his grandson.

The four boys say, for now, they have been encouraged by the administration not to return to the science class and that they should expect to receive a grade of "incomplete" for the class. Ray contends the students should be provided at-home tutoring to make up for the lost classroom education and that the two science teachers should be removed from the class.
https://www.newsday.com/long-island/...uit-1.40407684
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Old 10th January 2020, 04:02 PM   #70
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"Mary, we know you're a good teacher, and your heart is in the right place. But it's recently come to our attention that you have not noticed that some of your students are black. Now, this kind of cognitive lapse would disqualify you from most jobs, but you're a teacher. So please try to think about your students a little bit more. Thanks! "
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Old 10th January 2020, 04:34 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
As judge, and assuming that what has been alleged here is the truth, my judgement would be for the whole $12m as asked, awarding the four students $20K each, and the balance of the judgement to go to a charity involved in education against racism such as the Southern Poverty Law Centre. Hit racist organisations where it hurts the most, the bottom line, and send out a warning to other such organisations that this kind of thing will not be tolerated.
As the Judge it wouldn't be up to you to say where the money was to go.
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Old 10th January 2020, 04:39 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
As the Judge it wouldn't be up to you to say where the money was to go.
Are you sure this is the case in the US? I have seen many cases of judges awarding minimal payments to litigants and punitive damages to others. It seems pretty common.
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Old 10th January 2020, 04:44 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
"Mary, we know you're a good teacher, and your heart is in the right place. But it's recently come to our attention that you have not noticed that some of your students are black. Now, this kind of cognitive lapse would disqualify you from most jobs, but you're a teacher. So please try to think about your students a little bit more. Thanks! "
"Mary, you've been a good teacher for many years, but it's recently come to our attention that you single out black students for animal-themed pictures. That doesn't reflect well on us."
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Old 10th January 2020, 04:50 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Are you sure this is the case in the US? I have seen many cases of judges awarding minimal payments to litigants and punitive damages to others. It seems pretty common.
INAL, but in my quick searching I have found nothing that would indicate that Judges award punitive damages to non-participating parties. Can you provide examples?
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Old 10th January 2020, 04:55 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
INAL, but in my quick searching I have found nothing that would indicate that Judges award punitive damages to non-participating parties. Can you provide examples?
No examples, but I think it's a pretty straightforward bit of juridical discretion.

"Your sentence is to pay X dollars to Charity Y. *bang* Court is adjourned."
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Old 10th January 2020, 05:17 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
No examples, but I think it's a pretty straightforward bit of juridical discretion.

"Your sentence is to pay X dollars to Charity Y. *bang* Court is adjourned."
In criminal cases I can see that as the punitive action is to the State, and the Judge as representative of the State could direct it, but in a Civil Trial then any award to to the Plaintive, and so I don't see the ability of a Judge to divert that from them.
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Old 10th January 2020, 05:18 PM   #77
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I'd also note that most Civil Trials in the US are determined by Juries, not Judges.
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Old 10th January 2020, 05:34 PM   #78
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Monkey see, monkey do is an old saying for everyone.
People need to give this crap a rest.
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Old 10th January 2020, 05:36 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Jimmy9 View Post
Monkey see, monkey do is an old saying for everyone.
People need to give this crap a rest.
And calling Black people monkeys is just as old if not older, you're right though, people do need to stop doing that crap.
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Old 10th January 2020, 05:41 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by Jimmy9 View Post
Monkey see, monkey do is an old saying for everyone.
People need to give this crap a rest.
That's exactly what these schoolteachers thought, right through the moment when they equated black people to monkeys.

What's your plan? Crack monkey jokes on black people and appeal to tradition when they complain? Let us know how that works out for you.
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