Teacher Fired for Using Word "Negro" in Class?

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A Bronx teacher says a major misunderstand led to her firing - and now she's during for damages as a result.

Petrona Smith, an African-American native of the West Indies and a junior high instructor at PS 211 until March 2012, has been unemployed ever since she gave her Spanish class a color lesson in which she used the word "negro."

Because "negro" is Spanish for "black."

School building

But a student apparently misinterpreted the word as an epithet; reported Smith to her superiors; and Smith was summarily dismissed.

“They haven’t even accounted for how absurd it is for someone who’s black to be using a racial slur to a student,” said Shaun Reid, Smith’s attorney. “Talk about context! There’s a lot of things wrong here.”

A spokeswoman for the city Law Department replied to The New York Post's request for comment with:

“We have received the papers and will review them.”