Deborah Morse-Cunningham, an assistant principal at Staten Island high school, is being investigated after sharing a troubling post on Facebook.
She asked in her now-deleted post: “What is privilege? Privilege is wearing $200 sneakers when you’ve never had a job. Privilege is wearing $300 Beats headphones while living on public assistance.
“Privilege is living in public subsidized housing where you don’t have a water bill, where rising property taxes and rents and energy costs have absolutely no effect on the amount of food you can put on your table.”
Her post continued: “Privilege is having as many children as you want, regardless of your employment status, and be able to send them off to daycare or school you don’t pay for.”
Morse-Cunningham’s post was seen by a parent who launched a Change.org petition to have the assistant principal removed from her position, according to Staten Island Live.
The petition stated: “Deborah Morse-Cunningham, a longtime educator and assistant principal at New Dorp High School on the South Shore of Staten Island, has decided to use her platform and social media presence to post anti-Black messaging during this time.
“She recently posted a rant to her public Facebook page, detailing vicious stereotypes and racial profiling directed at the Black community. As someone responsible for the tutelage of our youth, this is especially troubling and problematic rhetoric to say the least.”
The petition adds: “This leads me to question what kind of practices she’s instilled in the culture at New Dorp High School, and what kind of environment our children are learning in.”
According to the New York Post, the assistant principal makes around $130,000 at New Dorp High School.
Department of Education press secretary Miranda Barbot said in a statement on Tuesday: “The DOE stands against racism and schools must be safe and inclusive learning environments.
“Teachers and staff have a responsibility to uphold those values, and the principal reported this incident for investigation.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also said: “No one in a position of authority should use racially insensitive language, especially someone who’s an educator and kids look up to.”
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