Second-grade teacher Tammy Jordan started in 2016 at Larchmont Elementary School in Mount Laurel, N.J. She was one of the first Black teachers at the school since 1990.
But by the end of the 2018 school year, Jordan quit her job and filed a lawsuit because of the extremity of the racism and discrimination she experienced at Larchmont.
According to the lawsuit, Jordan quit because of “onerous, abusive and hostile” working conditions. This included other second-grade teachers excluding Jordan, refusing to talk or acknowledge her, berating her in front of her class and saying things like, “I would show you my lesson plans, but you won’t understand them anyway,” or ask, “Do your grandchildren have the same mother?”
Jordan was also demoted to an overfilled first-grade class with students who had academic and behavior problems and constantly told her she was an “affirmative action” hire. When Jordan wanted to spend a week teaching Black history during Black History Month, another teacher told her there was no time for it in the curriculum.
Jordan filed the lawsuit against the school, principal and other second-grade teachers. She also accused the school district of not investigating her claims.
One of the worst aspects of this case is that the school principal, George Jackson, is also Black and was allowing racism and discrimination to continue. When Jordan approached him about the problems with the other teachers, Jackson agreed that the “systemic racism and discrimination” existed but “They don’t mean nothing by it” and Jordan should be like the women in the movie “Hidden Figures.”
Jackson also told her “The way I was raised, white is always right” and Jordan was told to endure the harassment and racism just like Jackie Robinson, the first black Major League baseball player, did.
According to Jordan, Jackson even cried in front of her one time because he said he was too scared to hire another Black teacher because it would be too “controversial.”
Larchmont Elementary School has 400 students with 41 percent of them white, 13 percent Hispanic, 22 percent Black and 14 percent Asian, according to New Jersey School Performance Reports.