MIDDLE ISLAND, L.I. — A fiery school board meeting broke out on Thursday in Middle Island following a slideshow that many students and parents are calling racist.
But many other parents and students are coming to the defense of the teacher at the center of the controversy.
Parents who are defending the teacher argue that the intent wasn’t for the picture to be racist. In fact, they say students of all races have taken the same picture for that same slideshow in the past.
“One mistake shouldn’t ruin this persons life,” said Griffin Bell, a student at the high school.
Parents and students at Longwood High School are divided over what should happen to a science teacher following the slideshow.
“It scars them forever,” said Dr. Beverly Green, a Middle Island resident.
During a trip to the Bronx Zoo, a science teacher asked four black students to pose for a picture which was later used in the slideshow.
In one of the slides there’s a picture of a gorilla titled “monkey see,” then a picture of the four young men with the title “monkey do.”
“That picture was degrading and it was not right. Was not correct. It was a bad decision,” said Butch mMurray, a grandparent of one of the students in the picture.
But most of the hundreds who attended the meeting where there in support of the teacher in question.
“Never have I noticed an ounce of prejudice. He’s inherently good at heart,” said Kieran Monaghan, a student.
The school has yet to decide what will happen to that teacher, who has been with the Longwood school district for 20 years.
Online, there’s a change.org petition with over 5,000 signatures in support of the teacher.