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'Messenger of God' Teacher Canned For Religious Rant, Records Show

By James Fanelli | August 15, 2012 6:42am

QUEENS — An opera-singing teacher who has worked in city schools for more than 30 years has been axed for calling students racists and proclaiming herself a messenger of God in class, court records show.

Dr. Patricia Missick was given the boot on July 31 after a state arbitrator determined she unleashed a sermon while substitute teaching for an unruly eighth-grade social studies class at Junior High School 189 in Flushing, according to court papers.

The religious rant erupted because students were chatting and milling about during class time in January 2011, according to a report by the arbitrator, Beverly Harrison.

"She started to tell me how she is a descendant from God," one student wrote in a statement about the incident, the report said.

"God talks to her. She said that she had a dream about us and that all the teachers are jealous of her,"

It added that Missick also described herself to the class as a "messenger of God."

Harrison admonished Missick's behavior in the document, noting that "a teacher nurtures and teaches inquisitive minds.

"They do not proselytize, belittle or rule by intimidation," she added. "Parents do not entrust their children to the public school system for exposure to lectures on religious beliefs."

In another incident, Missick told the students they were "being disrespectful because of the color of my skin," the report said.

"You guys don't listen to me because you're racists. You are all racists," she added, according to the report.

Harrison wrote that students "felt belittled and ridiculed" and one student complained Missick's admonition left him "guilty and, I guess, inferior."

The arbitrator decided that Missick should be fired after finding the students credible and her testimony evasive.

Missick told DNAinfo.com New York that she didn't call the students racists — she just told the class to stop teasing overweight students in the school. 

"I told the kids they shouldn't call other kids fat," she said. "I think it's a form of bullying. I said it was prejudice."

She said she never spoke about God; she just told them she was a minister and explained what that is. 

On Monday, Missick filed an appeal of the decision in Manhattan Civil Supreme Court and is praying she'll win her job back.

"I didn't do anything wrong," she said. "If I hit a kid or insult a child or say something bad or slap a kid … I could see that. But I didn't do anything."

Her appeal calls the students' accounts weak and claims their versions were partly concocted by a 16-year-old student who was hellbent on revenge because she tossed him out of class.

"[The student] sought vengeance against [Missick] because he was embarrassed that he was removed from the classroom," the appeal said.

Missick, who lives in East Elmhurst, identifies herself in an online profile as a professional opera singer and a counselor for drug addicts.

She has worked as a teacher for the city Education Department since 1979, records show. Her final annual salary was $100,049.

She previously had two unsatisfactory school ratings and has spent time in the rubber rooms.  In 2008, she agreed to pay a $3,000 fine to the Education Department and take a college-level class in pedagogy after another incident involving verbal abuse.

“The decision to fire her was based on sound reasoning, and we are confident the court will uphold the arbitrator’s ruling,” DoE spokesperson Connie Pankratz said.