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Long Island school district settles with Black teacher over discrimination claims

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The Commack school district is agreeing to pay $150,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a Black teacher who claimed racial harassment and intimidation on the job, according to records obtained by Newsday.

According to her 2018 lawsuit, Andrea Bryan was asked to “translate slave talk” and told that a bag of peanuts in the lunchroom was “for whites only.” Bryan’s suit claims she was the only Black teacher in the school and became a pariah in the school for complaining about these conversations.

The school denied allegations of discrimination and said that Bryan was reprimanded for her treatment of students. According to the settlement, obtained by Newsday through a freedom of information request, Bryan’s lawyer will collect the majority of the $150,000 with Bryan receiving $30,000.

According to a 2019 report by Hofstra University, 61% of Long Island’s 642 public school buildings do not have a single Black teacher and 43% have no Latino faculty.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.