A Brooklyn principal is in hot water this week after making a racist comment about Spanish-speakers in front of prospective parents, claiming, "If you don’t speak Spanish, you’re going to clean your own house." She has since apologized, so there's that.
DNAinfo reported yesterday that Donna Taylor, principal of the Brooklyn School of Inquiry in Bensonhurst, made the above comment in front of parents and prospective middle school students at an open house event on Tuesday. She had reportedly been discussing the school's foreign language program when she made the remark, prompting angry parents to file complaints with the Department of Education.
"The message I took away was clear from the principal’s statements: Brooklyn School of Inquiry is an elitist and discriminatory school, led by an insensitive principal," one parent, Jose Orbegozo, wrote in a letter to the DOE. "You cannot address an audience of 10-year-old kids and their parents and make irresponsible and racist comments."
Yesterday, Taylor released a statement apologizing for her comments. “Yesterday at an open house, I made statements, the nature of which was misunderstood, and some attendees were offended," she said. "Diversity is an issue that is near and dear to me, and I deeply regret my poor choice of word." Another parent told the Times that she contacted the principal directly, who called her back and said she was "trying to make a comment about a personal experience and misspoke."
Today, Taylor posted another message on the school's website, noting, "I am reaching out one more time to say this: words matter. I take full and complete responsibility for the fact that I used words that hurt and offended others. It was clumsy, it was dumb, it was insensitive and I am truly sorry. It was not my intent, but that does not excuse me."
The Brooklyn School of Inquiry's gifted and talented program is one of the most difficult in the city to get into, and Taylor reportedly called it "the whitest school in New York City;" also a poor choice of words, considering. According to DNAinfo, 73 percent of the school's students are white. 5 percent of the students are black, 5 percent are Latino, and 17 percent are Asian.
According to a statement provided to us by DOE spokesperson Devora Kaye, "We value the diversity of our students and we are committed to equity, access, and opportunity for all students—regardless of race, ethnicity, immigration status, neighborhood, or economic status. The principal used very poor judgment in her choice of words and she has apologized to the school community."