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February 22, 2021 5:57 pm

Jewish Former New York Superintendent Says in Lawsuit She Was Pushed Out Over ‘Equity Platform’

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

An empty street is seen in Manhattan borough of New York City, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), March 15, 2020. Photo / Jeenah Moon.

A Jewish Bronx school superintendent has filed a $150 million lawsuit that charges antisemitic, racial, and gender discrimination led to her demotion and eventual termination.

Karen Cohen Ames spent 30 years with the New York City Department of Education and was superintendent of a Bronx public school from 2014 to 2018, and said she was often praised for her accomplishments.

In 2018, Chancellor Richard Carranza launched an “equity platform” that Ames claimed was, in fact, “a platform used to create gender, age, racial, and ethnic divisions in the NYC School system.”

In one incident, Ames’ lawsuit said she was “admonished” for refusing to engage in meetings during which attendees were told to give the “Wakanda” salute from the film Black Panther.

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In another, she said she was subjected to antisemitic harassment at a superintendents meeting at which an “implicit bias training” session took place.

Attendees were asked to share their personal stories in relation to a presentation given the previous month. Ames told the story of her grandparents, who survived the Holocaust, in which they lost two children. She said she learned from this “the dangers of targeted racism and the importance of equity for all people.”

“At the break [Ames] was excoriated for presenting her views and feelings about discrimination using the Holocaust as a frame of reference,” said the suit, including being “verbally attacked” by an antisemitic colleague, Rahesha Amon.

“That is not about being Jewish! It’s about black and brown boys of color only- You better check yourself!” Amon shouted at her, according to the court document.

“The experience left Plaintiff humiliated, demoralized, and fearful,” it continued, and said that Ames was eventually demoted and then pressured to resign.

Ames’ attorney Israel Goldberg told the New York Post, “This case highlights that those in power often put their own agendas before the well-being of our community. It’s a terrible example for our children to be taught to judge people on anything other than merit.”

The Department of Education could not be reached for comment Monday.

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