Teacher Allegedly Called Student ‘Negro,’ Really Wasn’t Getting Through to Her Class

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Bronx teacher Petrona Smith was fired from PS 211 in March 2012 after allegedly calling a seventh-grader "negro," but in a new lawsuit she claims she was merely teaching a lesson on how to say colors in Spanish. Smith's lawyer points out that she is also black, and “They haven’t even accounted for how absurd it is for someone who’s black to be using a racial slur to a student." But that isn't the only communication problem she had with her class. Students accused her of calling them "failures," but she said she just asked those who failed a test to move to the back of the room. And if you don't buy that explanation, she has another one:  The students started it. Smith claims in the lawsuit that the middle schoolers had verbally abused her, calling her a "f--king monkey," a "cockroach," and a "n----r," but she never stooped to that level.