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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Petition To Fire Principal Minerva Zanca of Pan American International High School in Elmhurst Queens


NYC Chancellor Dennis Walcott & City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras: Help Us Terminate Principal Minerva Zanca of Pan American International High School


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      Petition by
      BK Nation



      Two teachers that were preparing for tenure this year were denied and subsequently fired by a principal that referred to them as “having big lips” and “nappy hair.” John Flanagan, a Spanish Language teacher, and Heather Hightower, an ESL-Science teacher, were the targets of these remarks by Minerva Zanca, principal of Pan American International High School in Elmhurst, Queens, New York.
      These two teachers, as well as tenured Theatre teacher Lisa-Erika James, have filed a discrimination claim against Principal Minerva Zanca within the Department of Education—Office of Equal Opportunity—for poor performance ratings and undue budget cuts that they feel were racially motivated.
      Assistant Principal Anthony Riccardo, who is also filing a harassment claim against Ms. Zanca, uncovered these comments in a written statement that discloses, in vivid detail, the targeting of these three teachers over the course of the 2012-2013 school year. In Post-Observation Conferences with Mr. Riccardo, Zanca states that Ms. Hightower “looked like a gorilla in a sweater with nappy hair” and asked, “Did you see his big lips quivering?” in reference to Mr. Flanagan.
      Minerva Zanca, Principal at Pan American High School, Sylvia Mata, President of LULAC Queens
       
      "It is not only important to have high standards for our public school teachers,” says Kevin Powell, President of BK Nation. “But we must also support the good ones, like these teachers, who are completely dedicated to their young people. I find it unacceptable that a principal can engage in this kind of conduct without any repercussions. We are not going to stop until due justice and process is served here. We are calling on the school district and the DOE to review this matter thoroughly, to deal with the facts fairly, and to make it clear that racial bias and mistreatment of teachers in any form is not tolerated in New York City. We are also specifically asking for the support of City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, who has a working relationship with Principal Zanca since the school is in her district, and for her to condemn this racist and abusive behavior and to stand with us in pushing for an investigation and justice.”
      The New York City Department of Education’s Chancellor's Regulation A830 is a strict antidiscrimination policy that protects its employees from discrimination based on race/color/ethnicity/gender and sexual orientation. The three teachers feel their Civil Rights have been violated and in return are pursuing their complaint in the hopes of getting their jobs back. Ms. James is asking that Ms. Zanca be held fully accountable in compliance with the Chancellor’s Regulations. Ms. James states “It is deeply disappointing that Ms. Zanca has made such hurtful racial epithets and is allowed to run a school where many of the children are of Afro-Latino descent.” There are currently no African American teachers left at the school.
       
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:
Kevin Powell
Queens, NY Principal Minerva Zanca calls African American teachers "big lipped," "nappy haired," and "gorillas"

Two teachers that were preparing for tenure this year were denied and subsequently fired by a principal that referred to them as "having big lips" and "nappy hair." John Flanagan, a Spanish Language teacher, and Heather Hightower, an ESL-Science teacher, were the targets of these remarks by Minerva Zanca, principal of Pan American International High School in Elmhurst, Queens, New York.
These two teachers, as well as tenured Theatre teacher Lisa-Erika James, have filed a discrimination claim against Principal Minerva Zanca within the Department of Education-Office of Equal Opportunity-for poor performance ratings and undue budget cuts that they feel were racially motivated.
Assistant Principal Anthony Riccardo, who is also filing a harassment claim against Ms. Zanca, uncovered these comments in a written statement that discloses, in vivid detail, the targeting of these three teachers over the course of the 2012-2013 school year. In Post-Observation Conferences with Mr. Riccardo, Zanca states that Ms. Hightower "looked like a gorilla in a sweater with nappy hair" and asked, "Did you see his big lips quivering?" in reference to Mr. Flanagan.
"It is not only important to have high standards for our public school teachers," says Kevin Powell, President of BK Nation. "But we must also support the good ones, like these teachers, who are completely dedicated to their young people. I find it unacceptable that a principal can engage in this kind of conduct without any repercussions. We are not going to stop until due justice and process is served here. We are calling on the school district and the DOE to review this matter thoroughly, to deal with the facts fairly, and to make it clear that racial bias and mistreatment of teachers in any form is not tolerated in New York City. We are also specifically asking for the support of City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, who has a working relationship with Principal Zanca since the school is in her district, and for her to condemn this racist and abusive behavior and to stand with us in pushing for an investigation and justice."
The New York City Department of Education's Chancellor's Regulation A830 is a strict anti-discrimination policy that protects its employees from discrimination based on race/color/ethnicity/gender and sexual orientation. The three teachers feel their Civil Rights have been violated and in return are pursuing their complaint in the hopes of getting their jobs back. Ms. James is asking that Ms. Zanca be held fully accountable in compliance with the Chancellor's Regulations. Ms. James states "It is deeply disappointing that Ms. Zanca has made such hurtful racial epithets and is allowed to run a school where many of the children are of Afro-Latino descent." There are currently no African American teachers left at the school.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Their are always two sides to a story and in this case three. First of all Ms. Zanca is PUERTO RICAN MULATTO. Why in the world would she be racist against herself? The two teachers in question were denied tenured by Mr. Mendez. Ms. Zanca supported their tenure. The theater teacher ALWAYS received accolades by Ms. Zanca. Her program was reduce in budget due to financial constraints. The AP in question is being investigated by the DOE's OSI for misconduct of funds. This was brought up by the NETWORK that realized some irregularities.
Do you know that the previous principal of this school was bullied by her staff and resigned? Ms. Zanca has brought in numerous PD opportunities for the school to help scaffold teachers. She was always looking for how to help teachers improve their practice.
Yes she work for Jose Cruz but her leadership style is different. She is a product of the LEAP program which has successful candidates. Ms. Zanca is being done an injustice in this case.

NYCDOE's finest said...

The AP sat on this information for how long? A true AP would have said he couldn't be party to this and reported immediately. But he went along... They taking him down too?

El Gigante said...

Funny how Assistant Principal did not assist his Principal.

I understand she may not have hired him, but he was working under that license and in that position. One would expect that an Assistant XXXXX would make sure the XXXXX would be on point with regulations. After first alleged incident he should have said, "Minerva, I'm not cool with that." at the very least. If he believed that it was racial and discriminatory, he should have called it in for investigation.

It allegedly happened multiple times, and in at least one of those he signed a written observation report.

All of a sudden that he has been implicated on improprieties, and is facing disciplinary action for actions under former Principal, he has filed against Zanca? Curious.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Zanca is a minority herself. But with in the Latin Community some people will play both sides of the race card to gain the acceptance of the majority. It happens everyday.It happens in all races. If Mrs. Zanca did make these comments openly it's really mean that the problem wasn't just her but with the other staff members as weell

Anonymous said...

People can be racist against their own race. If a Jew makes holocaust jokes, it's still racist and inexcusable. However I believe this principal is falsely accused because Anthony Riccardo and a few teachers didn't like her.