Dr. Cicely Cobb began teaching English at Ahwatukee’s Desert Vista High School in Arizona, which she described as her ‘dream job,’ in the summer of 2012. Since then, she said it’s been a nightmare because she’s been subjected to harassment by both students and administrators.
“I do feel that I have been the victim of racial discrimination,” Cobb said. In February, Cobb filed a lawsuit against the Tempe Union High School District. Prior to the lawsuit being filed, a student posted a video to a social media site in January. It shows another student walking up to Cobb and tapping her on the head with a laminated bathroom pass.
She said the online abuse is even worse. One post on Twitter suggests Cobb, who’s African-American, sign up for an all black dating site. Another post said,”I think I accidentally took Dr. Cobb’s class on black history, instead of junior English.”
And, then there’s a picture posted to Twitter which Cobb said is a minstrel or black face depiction of her.
“The minstrel photo was absolutely sick,” she said. “Minstrel jokes were associated with my grandfather who was born in 1912 – that generation.”
The social media taunts also include a picture of Cobb, snapped by a student who posted it to Twitter with the caption, “Dr. Cobb sighted working the corner,” alluding to her being a prostitute. “That comment to me, from my perception, was extraordinarily sexist; extraordinarily racist,” Cobb said. “And, it hurt my heart.”
Since Cobb filed her lawsuit, she said students she doesn’t even know have joined the bandwagon with their mean-spirited tweets.
On May 2, one Twitter post accused Cobb of pulling the race card – while another post shows a picture of a Ku Klux Klan meeting, with the caption: “DV teacher meetings according to Dr. Cobb.”
“When you follow the herd and the herd is going the wrong way, going down that wrong path, it might be detrimental to your success,” Cobb said about what she would say to those students.
What Cobb said she finds even more disturbing is that she has noticed some parents have actually favorite several of these negative Twitter posts.