Teacher allegedly made 'monkey' comment to student

April 18, 2013 5:39:31 AM PDT
There is anger in Brooklyn over a comment in the classroom that a teacher made to a student.

The girl's mother says it's racist and wants the teacher suspended.

Deborah Perkins doesn't want her daughter's face on camera.

She's a shy 12-year-old girl still reeling from what happened to her in school last week.

That's when, according to her mom, a teacher at junior high school 234 in Gravesend reprimanded the seventh grader for talking during a public address announcement and then asked her if she was a monkey.

"'Are you a monkey?' She was already shaking and surprised at that question. She became defensive and was forced to answer, 'I am a monkey,'" said Deborah Perkins, the student's mother.

Ms. Perkins has since met with the school's assistant principal and she received an apology from the teacher. But she says she wants more.

"Suspension, definitely suspension. I don't want this to happen to another child, any type of prejudice to happen to another child," Perkins said.

A Department of Education spokesperson told Eyewitness News, "The assistant principal met with the parent and teacher on Monday. The teacher apologized. The matter is under investigation. Disciplinary action is pending."

"They are trying to sweep this under the rug. They can't do that and if we have to we will start a protest in front of the school every day until that teacher is gone," said Tony Herbert, a community activist.

Ms. Perkins says the damage to her daughter's self-esteem has been clearly evident, and she says repairing that damage may require counseling.