Coney Island, NY – A principal is under investigation for allegedly calling her school “a racist building” because so few teachers are minorities, the Daily News has learned.Join our WhatsApp group
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Principal Greta Hawkins of Public School 90 made several remarks about “white, Jewish” staffers, according to teachers.
Hawkins is a graduate of Mayor Bloomberg’s elite Leadership Academy, which trains new principals.
“We’re fearing for our jobs because we’re not black,” said a teacher who wouldn’t give her name because she fears retribution.
Hawkins, who is black, took the helm of the 80% minority school on W. 12th St. last September.
The school’s three previous principals were white and Jewish. Only three of the school’s 50 teachers are African-American or Hispanic.
Hawkins addressed the issue of race at a June 10 meeting in the school auditorium, and many of her staff didn’t like what she said.
“This is a racist building,” Hawkins said at the meeting, according to teachers who took notes.
“You’re all used to white, Jewish principals who only hired whites. The school culture is going to change.”
Hawkins then vowed to hire more black teachers, according to teachers who were at the meeting.
“Many more [black teachers] are coming, but I will hire one white person,” Hawkins said, according to the teachers.
“People’s mouths dropped open,” said one teacher. “Everyone looked shocked at what they just heard.”
Staffers said racial tensions at the school are minimal, and Hawkins never mentioned the issue of race in any previous meetings.
“Race doesn’t matter here,” said another teacher who wouldn’t give her name. “That’s the baffling thing about it.”
A dozen teachers and two paraprofessionals who were at the meeting filed complaints with the Department of Education’s Office of Equal Opportunity in June.
Department of Education spokesperson Margie Feinberg said an investigation is ongoing.
“I can tell you that race is not a factor in any DOE personnel decisions,” she said.
“It’s against the law, against our regulations, and against our policies.”
Hawkins declined comment.