QUEENS, N.Y. - Saying no to “racism! discrimination and the denigration” of Haitian children in schools, several Haitian activists yesterday afternoon picketed PS 34 in Queens Village over allegations that 13 Haitian students of the school's only 4th grade Bilingual class were forced to sit on the floor to eat their lunch with their bare hands and verbally abused by a white assistant principal.
The protest action comes on the same day that Daily News columnist, Juan Gonzalez, detailed the incident through interviews with parents and the children who claimed that on March 16th, following an altercation between some students in the lunchroom of PS 34, Nancy Miller, the assistant principal of the school, forced the 13 to sit on the floor to eat their lunch of chicken and rice with their bare hands. When the students protested, she screamed: "In Haiti they treat you like animals and I will treat you the same way here."
Members of the Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees and other Haitian groups are calling for both Miller and Pauline Shakespeare, the school’s principal who vowed to stick by her assistant principal, to be fired.
Meanwhile, Chris Owens, candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Brooklyn’s 11th Congressional District, expressed outrage at the alleged mistreatment of the students as did Michele Adolphe, a Haitian-American community leader and day care director in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn and likely candidate for the New York State Assembly.
Owens called for a full investigation while Adolphe, said, “No child in any school should endure the pain of such ignorance, whether from adults or children.”
The NYC Board of Education has said it is investigating the allegation