Ames, who is Jewish, said she was “verbally attacked” by a colleague for sharing her family’s Holocaust story during a mandatory racial awareness training session.
Two longtime New York City public school educators have filed a lawsuit claiming they were fired after refusing to go along with a new far-left agenda pushed by the district, the New York Post reported Sunday.
Karen Ames had worked in New York’s Department of Education for over 30 years and was previously praised by Chancellor Richard Carranza for raising test scores and academic achievement in underperforming schools.
However, despite a proven history of success, Ames’ career was unfairly derailed after Carranza introduced a “Disrupt and Dismantle” campaign for school district staff, according to her lawsuit.
“The agenda of Chancellor Carranza and his senior leadership team was euphemistically touted as an ‘equity platform’ but in reality, it was a platform used to create gender, age, racial and ethnic divisions in the NYC School system,” reads a lawsuit filed last week by Ames.
Ames, who is Jewish, said in her lawsuit that she was “verbally attacked” by a colleague for sharing her family’s Holocaust story during a mandatory racial awareness training session.
“My grandparents taught me to understand the dangers of ‘targeted racism’ or the exclusion of any group, and the importance of equity for all people. This is my core value as an educator,” Ames reportedly said.
After talking about the two sons her grandparents lost during the genocide, she was interrupted by a colleague who slammed her for not exclusively focusing on racism against Hispanic and black students.
“You better check yourself! That is not about being Jewish! It’s about black and brown boys of color only,” the colleague, Rahesha Amon, allegedly said.
The educator said she was “admonished” for refusing to take part in “Wakanda”-style black power salutes inspired by the movie Black Panther, and believes that declining to perform the gesture landed her on the blacklist of deputy Chancellor Cheryl Watson-Harris.
Not long after Ames refused to perform the salute, Ames was summoned to DOE headquarters by Watson-Harris, where she was given a termination letter explaining that “the district was moving in a new direction.”
But Ames wasn’t the only educator who paid the price for refusing to submit to the critical race theory-inspired agenda.
Rafaela Espinal, who has Dominican heritage and identifies as an Afro-Latina, also declined to perform the “Wakanda” salute.
Espinal explained that she felt uncomfortable with the gesture being used in professional meetings, as it “introduced a racial divide where there should be none,” according to her lawsuit.
She “was admonished and told that it was inappropriate for her not to participate,” her attorneys said. Espinal’s colleagues allegedly told her that she was not “black enough” and she should “just learn to be quiet and look pretty.”
Shortly afterwards, she was abruptly terminated from her position as head of Community School District 12 in the Bronx.
Like Ames, Espinal was told that she was fired because she didn’t fit into the district’s new agenda.
A DOE spokesperson told the Post, “we are committed to fostering a safe, inclusive work environment and strongly dispute any claims of discrimination or improper treatment.”