NY Parents To Sue School District Over ‘Monkey Do’ Photo
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Parents have filed a notice of claim, signaling their intention to sue the Longwood Central School District, after a teacher captioned a picture of Black students “Money Do.”

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the notice of claim filed in the case, the photo of the students, which was taken on a zoology class trip to the Bronx Zoo back in November, was taken near a gorilla exhibit. The students were allegedly, unwittingly “tricked and cajoled” into posing for the photo.

The next month, the photo was used in a class PowerPoint presentation, put between separate photos of a gorilla and another monkey with the caption “Monkey See.”

“There can’t be any question about what they meant,” John Ray, the attorney representing the families said of the photo. “Remember, this is a zoology class. Evolution is taught.” 

The notice of claim said that the way the image appeared in the class left the students feeling embarrassed and ashamed.

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As ESSENCE previously reported, parents of the students have already expressed their concerns, and hurt, accusing the teacher of comparing the children to monkeys – a comparison that has an ugly history in American history.

“The whole picture and the caption was very upsetting because it was comparing our kids to a monkey or a gorilla, which, there is a history on this when it comes to black people – it was very disturbing,” Latisha Moye, the mother of one of the students in the photo said at the time.

One Longwood High School senior Khevin Beaubrun told the CBS News that he had recorded the slideshow on his cellphone, but was threatened with suspension unless he deleted it.

“I said they had used us like slaves,” Beaubrun said. “I posted [a video about] it on Snapchat, social media, and [I was asked] to take it down.” 

According to News Day, none of the four boys pictured in the photo have returned to the science class since.